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$3m for Plug Power’s Range-Extender

December 18, 2013 in EVs, fuel cells, Hydrogen, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

FedEx Express to Test Smith Trucks with Plug Power Fuel Cells

FedEx Express has been awarded $3 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a hydrogen fuel cell delivery truck with a single-fill range of up to 150 miles. Twenty vehicles are to be tested at FedEx facilities in Tennessee and California, DoE said Tuesday.

Battery electric delivery trucks like this one could get a boost as Plug Power and partners propose to try hydrogen fuel cells for range extension.

FedEx Express is to develop and test battery electric trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles modified with GenDrive brand hydrogen fuel cells from Plug Power for extended range.

The base vehicles are battery electric trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles with their range extended via the installation of 10-kilowatt GenDrive fuel cells from Plug Power (F&F, October 29).

Series 1000 Plug Power GenDrive fuel cell

Series 1000 Plug Power GenDrive fuel cell

The award to FedEx Express is one of several totaling $7 million “for projects that will help bring cost-effective, advanced hydrogen and fuel cell technologies online faster.”

DoE has also awarded

  • $3 million to the Atlanta-based Center for Transportation and the Environment to develop a fuel cell hybrid electric walk-in delivery van with a 150-mile single-fill range. The project includes the retrofit of 15 UPS delivery vans with fuel cell hybrid powertrains with testing at distribution facilities in California. The University of Texas’s Center for Electromechanics, Electric Vehicles International, Hydrogenics USA and Valence Technology will also participate.
  • $900,000 to Air Products and Chemicals and partner Structural Composites Industries (Worthington Cylinders) to develop a cost-effective tube trailer for hydrogen delivery and storage. Air Products is to conduct tests under real-world operating conditions at hydrogen fueling stations in Southern California.
  • $250,000 to Sprint to deploy fuel cell-powered backup power systems for rooftop telecommunications equipment.

DoE says that its support of fuel cell and hydrogen R&D has helped reduce automotive fuel cell costs by more than 50% since 2006 and more than 30% since 2008. “At the same time, fuel cell durability has doubled and the amount of expensive platinum needed in fuel cells has fallen by 80% since 2005.”

“By partnering with private industry and universities, the Energy Department is helping to build a strong 21st century transportation sector that cuts harmful pollution, reduces costs for U.S. businesses and leads to a more sustainable energy future,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a release.

“Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies will help ensure America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation,” he said.

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Source: U.S. DoE with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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