Proterra, a prominent electric bus company often praised by President Biden, declared bankruptcy on Monday, citing various market “headwinds” as the root of its financial difficulties.
The company in California has initiated a voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization within the District of Delaware under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, intending to “fortify its financial stance.” Proterra expressed that its operations will continue as usual throughout this period, including the payment of vendor and supplier compensation and employee wages and benefits.
Proterra’s CEO, Gareth Joyce, acknowledged that the company had laid a strong foundation for decarbonization across the commercial vehicle industry. He emphasized the potential in their product offerings, stating, “This is why we are acting to independently maximize each product line through the Chapter 11 reorganization process.”
Joyce also noted that despite setting an industry standard with their leading EV and battery technologies, they faced challenges that hindered their ability to grow all their opportunities simultaneously. “As commercial vehicles shift toward electrification, we are eager to refine our focus as a top EV battery technology provider for our many stakeholders’ benefit,” he explained.
The Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed late Monday an 8-K filing of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy had been submitted from Proterra.
Since President Biden took office in January 2021, his administration has supported Proterra on various occasions. Biden hosted a virtual event at the White House to highlight Proterra’s business on April 20, 2021, even taking a virtual tour of the South Carolina facility where the buses are produced.
Remarking on his previous experience as a bus driver, Biden expressed his desire to visit the facility and touted his commitment to federal funding for zero-emission transit buses. The president’s goal is for all American-made buses to be zero-emissions by 2030.
President Biden has celebrated Proterra as an example of American success in electric vehicles and has mentioned the company in several speeches regarding his green energy ambitions.
Earlier this year, he appointed Proterra’s CEO, Joyce, to the White House Export Council, emphasizing Joyce’s long career focused on environmental sustainability. The White House praised Joyce’s efforts in expanding Proterra’s U.S. manufacturing footprint and the transition to zero-emission commercial vehicles.
However, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s ownership stake in Proterra has been criticized. Granholm, a board member at Proterra before her Department of Energy confirmation, held shares in the company for months afterward.