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Mercedes-Benz chooses fuel cells for fleet

Plug Power gets the nod for 72 units


July 18, 2012
by Fleet Management staff

LATHAM, NY:  Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc. (MBUSI) has purchased 72 GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell units to operate its Hyster electric lift truck fleet in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The GenDrive fuel cells will power a portion of the automotive plant’s lift truck fleet.

The GenDrive units will replace lead-acid batteries, which require space-consuming charging areas and an expensive maintenance infrastructure. Compact hydrogen stations provided by Air Products will be located onsite for a more efficient refueling process. As it grows its operations, Mercedes-Benz can add fuel cells to its fleet, without the need to invest in additional batteries, charging space or dedicated employees.

“Mercedes-Benz is an exciting customer to add to Plug Power’s growing list of fuel cell adopters,” said Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power. “We intend to prove the value of GenDrive fuel cells in Tuscaloosa in order to reinforce the benefits experienced in auto-manufacturing facilities across North America.”

Unlike the incumbent technology, GenDrive is powered by hydrogen, ensuring a constant flow of power to the truck with a fueling cycle that takes just minutes. Lead-acid batteries need to be changed, charged, stored and maintained. With this conversion, Mercedes-Benz is able to eliminate its battery room and open that valuable floor space up for storing and moving product. Finally, because GenDrive is powered by hydrogen, a clean-energy fuel, only heat and water are generated as byproducts of electricity creation.