Plug Power releases more efficient forklift fuel cell

10.10.2018

By Larry Rulison, Times Union

Plug Power says it has created a new, more efficient fuel cell for its fork lift customers that the company says will reduce the need for refueling.

The new fuel cell is called the GenDrive 2440-36R, and it is designed for Class-2 electric forklift trucks that are powered by batteries.Such electric fork lifts typically need to have their batteries changed out throughout the day, but when they have a fuel cell system attached, the batteries do not need to be changed out. Instead, the fuel cells, which run on hydrogen, just have to be refueled, about three times a day.Each refueling takes about three minutes, but the new GenDrive 2440-36R only needs to be refueled twice a day.

“This new GenDrive model stores more fuel on-board than earlier models, increasing run-time by 56 percent and reducing a customer’s overall fueling time by more than 30 percent,” the company said in a statement. “The first customer orders for these GenDrive units are scheduled to ship at the beginning of the third quarter of 2018.”

Plug Power sells to large retail customers like Amazon and Walmart that use the electric forklift trucks in their warehouses and distribution centers. And eliminating a short refueling adds up over time, especially for businesses that work on large volumes of transactions.”For a typical customer with more than 90 Class 2 vehicles, this translates to a projected productivity savings in excess of $400,000 over five years,” Plug Power said.

The company was able to work with fork lift truck makers to make design modifications that allowed it to make the fuel tank larger.

“The electric lift truck market is truly reacting to the impact that hydrogen and fuel cells are having on the longterm material handling solutions for their customers,” Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said in a statement. “We see this innovation as a significant sign of further market adoption.”