President Biden often praised an electric vehicle firm, in which his energy secretary had significant investments, prior to the company’s bankruptcy announcement on Monday.
Proterra, a company situated in the Bay Area that specializes in electric buses and batteries, initiated a Chapter 11 filing for bankruptcy. CEO Gareth Joyce pointed to numerous challenges in the market and larger economic factors that have hindered the company’s capacity to grow effectively.
The electric vehicle company, which supplied over 1,300 electric buses to public transportation networks in the United States and Canada, held an estimated worth of $1.6 billion when 80-year-old President Biden assumed office in January 2021. However, its market valuation dwindled to $362 million at the time of closure, as reported by Reuters.
During 2021, the president committed upwards of $10 billion from his $1.9 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal to support initiatives like emission-free transit and school buses.
Since his inauguration, President Biden has endorsed Proterra on multiple occasions and even virtually toured one of the company’s facilities.
During the period of the visit, Jennifer Granholm, the Energy Secretary, possessed shares valued between $1 million and $5 million in the electric vehicle corporation, as stated by The Washington Free Beacon. This situation raised ethical worries and led to demands for her to sell off her holdings.
In May 2021, Granholm earned a profit of $1.6 million by selling a substantial number of shares. This action occurred several months after her initial commitment to divest from the company. She was a member of Proterra’s board from February 2017 until shortly before her Senate confirmation hearing in January 2021.
In February 2023, President Biden also designated Gareth Joyce, the Chief Executive Officer of Proterra, as a member of the President’s Export Council.
In 2019, Philadelphia procured a set of Proterra buses which had to be removed from operation in February of the subsequent year owing to flaws, as reported by the local National Public Radio branch.
As outlined by WHYY, insiders knowledgeable about the matter attributed the issue to a fault in the plastic chassis of the buses, resulting in cracks.