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Greenville EV battery manufacturer files for bankruptcy protection

Krys Merryman //August 8, 2023//

Greenville EV battery manufacturer files for bankruptcy protection

Krys Merryman //August 8, 2023//

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This rendering showed a vision for the battery plant when it was announced in 2021. By January of this year, the plant was making batteries. (Rendering/Provided)An innovator in commercial vehicle electrification technology, with facilities in Greenville and Greer, plans to file for bankruptcy.

Proterra Inc. (Nasdaq: PTRA) announced that the company is taking action to “maximize the value of its business and enhance the potential of each of its product lines,” according to a Proterra news release.

The company voluntarily filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the District of Delaware in an effort to strengthen its financial position through a recapitalization or going-concern sale, the release said.

Although the company intends to continue to operate business as usual, it moves through this process and plans to file the customary motions with the Bankruptcy Court to use existing capital to fund operations, including paying employee salaries and benefits, and compensating vendors and suppliers on a go-forward basis in accordance with Chapter 11 rules, while ensuring business continuity for customers, the release said.

“Proterra is at the forefront of the innovations that are driving commercial vehicle electrification,” said Proterra CEO Gareth Joyce. “We know we’re building industry-leading products that our customers want and need. The foundation we have built has set the stage for decarbonization across the commercial vehicle industry as a whole, and we recognize the great potential in all of our product offerings to enable this important transformation. This is why we are taking action to separate each product line through the Chapter 11 reorganization process to maximize their independent potential.”

Shares of Proterra's stock were down 84% on Tuesday as a result of the bankruptcy filing. The Burlingame, Calif.-based company' stock value has plummeted 78% over the past year, according to Yahoo Finance.

In January, Proterra had produced the first Proterra Powered EV battery at its new Powered 1 battery manufacturing plant in Greer. By achieving this end-to-end production milestone at Powered 1, Proterra was expected to begin deliveries to customers of Proterra Powered battery systems from the new battery factory in the first quarter of 2023, SC Biz News reported in January.

In March, the South Carolina Department of Education announced it would buy 160 Thomas electric school buses, powered by Proterra, for school districts across the state over the next year, under a new procurement finalized between the Department of Education and Thomas Built Buses dealer Interstate Transportation.

“While our best-in-class EV and battery technologies have set an industry standard, we have faced various market and macroeconomic headwinds, that have impacted our ability to efficiently scale all of our opportunities simultaneously,” said Joyce. “As commercial vehicles accelerate toward electrification, we look forward to sharpening our focus as a leading EV battery technology supplier for the benefit of our many stakeholders.”

Proterra is a pioneer in zero-emission transportation with more than a decade of production experience, the release said. The company introduced zero-emission, electric transit buses to the North American market in 2010, which have now cumulatively amassed more than 40 million real-world service miles and displaced more than 180 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

Today, the company’s “best-in-class battery technology” is powering more than 20 commercial vehicle applications spanning Class 3 cargo vans through to Class 8 semi-trucks, as well as off-highway equipment in the construction and mining segments, in the U.S., European, and Asia-Pacific markets. Proterra has further installed more than 100 megawatts of heavy-duty EV charging infrastructure to support commercial vehicle fleets across North America, according to the release.

Moelis & Company LLC is acting as the company’s investment banker, FTI Consulting as financial adviser, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is acting as legal adviser.