Proterra Profile: Arvin Transit Pioneers Affordable Electric Vehicle Adoption with Valence

Arvin Transit, a transportation agency serving the small rural community of Arvin, California, is making great strides toward clean transportation in an area plagued by severe air pollution. Situated in the San Joaquin Valley, Arvin Transit has partnered with Proterra to reduce emissions by transitioning their diesel transit fleet to all-electric. While electrifying their transit buses presented new learnings for the agency, Arvin embraced the opportunity. One of the initial learnings they encountered was the importance of managing EV charging operations efficiently, to maximize performance and minimize electricity costs. With the support of Proterra’s Valence energy management software, Arvin implemented time-of-use charging strategies to optimize their charging schedules in a hands-free manner. 

Reducing Electric Bill Woes 

Arvin’s transition to electric buses was driven by the community’s commitment to reducing air pollution. Hesham Elshazly, the Director of Transportation at Arvin Transit, explained, “Arvin sits close to multiple freeways, which are consumed with freight trucks passing through the Valley. The visible smoke from these vehicles has contributed to Arvin’s terrible air pollution and air quality, so our city is seeking innovative solutions to reduce emissions and promote energy efficiency.” 

When the opportunity to purchase electric buses arose, Elshazly saw it as a no-brainer. “The Proterra buses are really good, and our team loves them! Everything about them is top-notch, and they’re easy to maintain,” said Elshazly. Despite the buses operating seamlessly, the agency’s initial electric bill prompted him to recognize the critical importance of efficiently managing the charging operations for his electric fleet’s success. Prior to that, Arvin had been charging its vehicles during times of peak electricity demand, resulting in costly energy bills.  

With guidance from Proterra, Arvin Transit explored the potential of Proterra’s Valence charge management software to improve their fuel costs. Elshazly was delighted with the results of Valence. “After a month of using Valence, I couldn’t believe it when I received the first electric bill from PG&E, and it was only $3,000! That was truly amazing, considering it used to be around $10,000.” The newfound savings allowed Arvin Transit to allocate funds to various initiatives, such as providing free rides to the community and investing in additional maintenance for the electric fleet.  

The Power of Charge Management Software

Proterra’s Valence charge management software has revolutionized Arvin Transit’s approach to EV charging. With its advanced features, the software enables customized charging schedules, allowing the agency to steer clear of costly peak hours and significantly reduce their electric expenses. By leveraging off-peak electricity rates, the agency saves substantially on operational costs. “Thanks to Valence, we avoid expensive peak charging hours in California, typically from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM, where it would cost us around $3 to $4 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Instead, we charge during off-peak hours, for less than $0.25 per kWh, ensuring our buses are fully charged and ready for our drivers without straining our budget,” said Elshazly. He stressed that Valence is a must-have for every fleet with electric buses, given its remarkable ability to customize charging times for each charger, catering to individual fleet requirements.

Seamless Implementation and Support 

Elshazly credits Arvin Transit’s remarkable success in adopting the Valence software to the unparalleled support provided by Proterra’s Valence team. Their commitment to exceptional customer service ensured a smooth and hassle-free implementation process, allowing Arvin Transit to fully capitalize on the benefits and enjoy peace of mind. 

“I don’t have to lift a finger with Valence. The Valence team took care of everything from A to Z. They’re truly amazing, and whenever I have a question or issue the team responds promptly. Even when it feels like the sky is falling, the team finds a solution. It’s not just empty words; they follow through with action. I witnessed them handle a challenging situation that I thought would be a nightmare, but everything was resolved quickly,” said Elshazly.  

Arvin Transit’s experience with Valence highlights the power of innovation. Valence has emerged as a game-changer in the world of commercial vehicle electrification, making this sustainable transition accessible and affordable for fleet operators, regardless of size. By offering a comprehensive and user-friendly solution, Valence is empowering transportation fleets like Arvin Transit to seamlessly integrate electric vehicles into their operations.  

Looking to electrify your fleet? Get started with Proterra’s EV Fleet Planner.