This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Autonomous & Electric Vehicles Summit on Wednesday.

KEYNOTE CHAT TOPIC: Breaking the chicken-and-egg challenge in electrification

DETAILS: Proterra got its start making electric transit buses but in recent years has expanded its scope to include making batteries and providing charging infrastructure. Buses are still the main business but the future lies in enabling electric vehicles to stay on the road.


Jack Allen, CEO and chairman, Proterra Inc.  


Allen joined Proterra four years ago as a board member and became CEO in March 2020. He spent more than three decades at Navistar, where he was chief operating officer and an executive vice president. He also served as  president of Navistar’s North America truck and parts division.


“I was very familiar with electrification at Navistar and they were really in the infant stages when I was leaving. I get to Proterra and they had spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing a product line that was incredibly superior to anything that was going on in the commercial electric vehicle space.”

“When you do a traditional IPO, you are only allowed to take a backward look at your company, and that’s how you market it to investors. But when you do a SPAC, you’re allowed to take a forward look at your market and tell the investors a lot greater detail of where your company is going.”

“I do believe  there is an opportunity for co-existence between batteries and hydrogen to some extent. I just think it’s unrealistic to believe the infrastructure investment is going to be made to allow Class 8 fleets to refuel across the country.”

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