Company Insight: Proterra

Proterra (Ticker Symbol: PTRA) is an electric transit and EV technology solutions company for commercial transport applications. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley, California.

MANAGEMENT TEAM:
Jack Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Office; Dustin Grace, Chief Technology Officer, Amy Ard, Chief Financial Ofiicer; Ryan Popple, Co-founder & Director

COMPETITION:
Canoo (Ticker Symbol: GOEV): At first look, seems like the Canoo is in really early prototype phase of their product platform. They are using contract manufacturing partner for building their vehicles to reduce capital expenditures. They have vehicles for both in B2C (Sports/Lifestyle) and B2B (last-mile deliveries) segment and business model revolves around TaaS (Transportation as a Service). They have developed their own BMS to work with their vehicles and battery packs. See more details in their investor presentation.

Hyliion (Ticker Symbol: HYLN) : Hyliion offers Class 8 Hybrid Truck kits with on-board Natural Gas-fueled electric-generators as range extenders, which can be integrated with OEM chassis ranging from Freightliner, Kenworth, Perterbilt, Navistar International & Volvo. They also have hybrid truck kits with Diesel & CNG-fueled generators. The battery packs are based on cells using LTO and NMC chemistry. I was not able to find information about the battery cell supplier and form factor being used on their site. They have also developed their own BMS to work with their battery packs based on Li-Ion Chemistries with Hybrid or BEV. They don’t seem to have any offerings for buses yet and seem more focused on class 8 trucks.

Arrival (Ticker Symbol: ARVL): I have a hard time finding any evidence of real products on the roads. But on paper they have a really good concepts of products.

Nikola (Ticker Symbol: NKLA) FCEV trucks. I have still have my doubts if Nikola really has a product to show.

BYD : BYD has the advantage of having their vehicles collecting more miles than any of the other BEV-brands.

Tesla (Ticker Symbol: TSLA): Tesla with it lead in battery packs and information they have collected from their cars is a formidable competition and can become a leading player in the commercial vehicle market as well.

Proterra’s IP advantage
A first look on the Patent Portfolio of Proterra shows that the company has lot of patent applications which are still in the process. A lot them seem to be in the cell packaging and BMS.

Assumptions of future growth
I think that there are lot of assumptions which need to turn out true for reaching the level of revenues projected for 2025.

Flexibility of Battery Packs
From 35 kWh for small delivery van to 113 kWh for paratransit van to 6 MWh for rail applications. In my view, that is an advantage and expands their TAM (Total addressable market)

Energy Density of Batteries
Proterra has moved to the latest 2170-form factor for Li-Ion Cells from 18650-form factor cells, which has allowed them to increase the energy density in their battery packs.

In general, I feel that the current energy density of batteries would mean limitation in BEV applications for long haulage of goods or inter-city transport of people. For these applications in my view, we would need to use a combination of battery modules with range-extenders with Fuel Cells or ICE. Ryan Popple, Co-founder & Director of Proterra, mentions in the interview, that he sees BEVs being used more widespread for local transport and FCEVs for more long distance transport during the coming decade.

I also feel that the latest agreement between Komatsu and Proterra for supply of battery packs for the construction and mining equipment reinforces the confidence in Proterra’s technology.

Integration in to EV Supply Chain
Prottera sources the Lithium Ion battery cells from LG Chem and Panasonic, who are considered to be one of the best battery cell manufacturers in the industry. For an EV, most crucial performance factor is battery management system (BMS) apart from the cell chemistry.

Unlike Tesla which plans to have integrations upstream all the way to Cathode Manufacturing to even mining & processing of Lithium, or Chinese EV manufacturer -BYD, I think Proterra would not have the scale to go in to that kind of upstream integrations and would be dependent on supply chains. And that I would see as a risk going forward for a company which has all the product line-up based on pure battery powered vehicles.

Technical Analysis
There is not a lot of trading history to go on when it comes to Technical Analysis. On the weekly chart it seems the price of the stock is still moving sideways bounded between 20 USD and 13 USD. The trend in my view looks neutral.

Weekly Price Candles for Proterra Inc. Stock

The daily chart shows a similar picture with a neutral trend and MA curves criss-crossing each other indicating no clear up or down trend.

Daily Price Candles for Proterra Inc. Stock

Disclosure: I have a position in the company and may or may not increase/decrease my position within the coming weeks and months.See my complete portfolio here.Please read the disclaimer before acting on the information provided on the website. Some of the links in the post may be affiliate links.

References:

  1. Our Story | Proterra
  2. The Proterra Battery Platform | Proterra
  3. Battery Supply Chain for Electric Vehicles with Simon Moores and Vivas Kumar – YouTube
  4. Armageddon 🔥📛! The Coming Battery Metals CRISIS! Benchmark Mineral Intelligence – YouTube
  5. Lithium-ion battery technology development & investment opportunities | Vivas Kumar | Energy Seminar – YouTube
  6. Patents Assigned to Proterra Inc. – Justia Patents Search

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