Clean Energy | January 13, 2021

Electric fleet company Proterra to go public through merger with ArcLight SPAC

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, Jan. 13 – Burlingame, Calif. electric bus maker Proterra announced a merger with ArcLight Clean Transition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company. The transaction values Proterra at $1.6 billion and includes an additional $415 million from Daimler Trucks, Franklin Templeton, Chamath Palihapitiya and others.

“I just made my biggest investment in climate change,” tweeted Social Capital’s Palihapitiya, who this week announced plans to take fintech firm SoFi public via Social Capital’s SPAC.

In addition to commercial electric buses, the company manufactures battery systems and charging solutions. The value of ArcLight shares more than doubled on the news.

  • Fleet flurry. Competition is heating up, as falling electric battery costs and lower operating costs fuel corporate and public-sector demand for electric delivery vehicles. GM on Tuesday revealed plans for its own electric delivery van, while Amazon has backed Rivian to develop an electric delivery vehicle. U.K. electric van maker Arrival is going public via SPAC, in a merger with CIIG Merger Corp. Last month, NextEra acquired Oakland-based eIQ Mobility, which makes software to advise fleets on when and how to electrify operations (see, “Electrification of vehicle fleets sparks disruption of energy and transportation”).
  • Ahead of the curve. Among Proterra’s early backers was Obvious Ventures, the “world-positive” VC firm co-founded by Medium’s Ev Williams (see, “Talking trillion-dollar sustainability disruptions”). Proterra’s electric buses have logged more than 16 million service miles. “Proterra stands out because of that track record in the real world,” Obvious’ Andrew Beebe told ImpactAlpha. The company raised $200 million last fall from Cowen Sustainable Advisors, Soros Fund Management, GenerationInvestment Management and Broadscale Group.