U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) said Thursday the announcement of the electric bus manufacturer Proterra and its expected 1,300 jobs could be a fire starter for new energy jobs throughout the Upstate tied to CU-ICAR.
“Proterra’s commitment shows the way ICAR is fulfilling its promise to create jobs and help South Carolina lead nationally in reinventing the car,” Inglis said. “Proterra is both a vehicle company and a technology company and their innovation will bring others to the Upstate.”
Inglis said suppliers and other manufacturers have already begun to investigate the Upstate and can be expected to locate here.
“As Proterra becomes successful, we can expect a job-generating effect like BMW has spurred.”
The Golden, CO-based company manufactures hybrid- and all-electric, all-composite body transit vehicles built from the ground up to improve fuel efficiency while generating very low or no emissions.
“I drove the company’s demonstration bus when they visited the office in Washington, DC,” Inglis said. “It is an amazing vehicle. It is lighter and cheaper to operate than a diesel bus that can recharge during its rounds.” Inglis said.
In addition to all battery and battery-dominant vehicles, the company can offer auxiliary power units that include bio-diesel, gasoline, compressed natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells.
The six-year-old company will manufacture hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles and eventually need to hire assembler, electricians, mechanics, welders and composite workers.
“This goes to show what we have been saying since 2005, that the road to energy security and economic recovery runs through the Upstate of South Carolina.”
Inglis said ICAR is one of the four pieces of the energy puzzle that South Carolina has to offer along with the Savannah River National Lab, the USC Fuel Cell Center and the Clyburn Transportation Center at S.C. State in Orangeburg.