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Workhorse, Plug Power deliver electric delivery van with fuel cell range extender to Fedex; in standard delivery route

Plug Power Inc. and Workhorse Group, Inc. have delivered to FedEx Express its first North American fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) delivery van for on-road use.

The Class-5 EGEN delivery van is built by Workhorse Group and charged by a Plug Power ProGen hydrogen fuel cell system (2 x 10 kW). The vehicle is currently in service at the FedEx facility in Menands, NY. The ProGen-powered electric delivery van is one of the first of its kind to operate in a standard commercial environment and is deployed on a standard delivery route for FedEx.

The vehicle is based on a Workhorse chassis with 80 kWh battery packs and a TM4 traction motor (20 kW, 2100 N·m). (Workhorse currently offers the range-extended EGEN with a 647 cc two-cylinder BMW range-extending engine; total range on that vehicle is 120 miles. The fuel cell project replaces the combustion engine system with a fuel cell system.)


Workhorse Chassis with 80 kWh packs and TM4 traction motor. Source: DOE.

The fuel cell range extended van stores 11.6 kg of hydrogen @ 350 bar in 6 tanks located in the least valuable real estate in the van; the wheel wells were extended to cover the tanks inside. Incremental energy to the batteries added is 165 kWh. The addition of Plug Power’s ProGen fuel cell enables the vehicle range to exceed 160 miles (258 km) per delivery cycle, a 166% increase over standard battery power alone.


Source: DOE.

To date, the new FCEV has already accumulated more than 3,000 on-road miles in initial tests, and is expected to accumulate more than 27,000 miles of on-road driving time in the first six months.


Source: DOE.

The vehicle refuels using a Plug Power hydrogen fuel station located in Latham, New York. This fueling station is the first hydrogen fueling station in New York State’s Capital Region and one of the first hydrogen refueling stations on the East Coast for on-road vehicles. The FCEV delivery van is currently fueling and operating through a broad weather spectrum, including rain, snow and cold temperatures.

In addition to the FedEx FCEV delivery van, Plug Power has 20,000 deployed fuel cells with more than than 150 million run hours in mobility applications.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports early stage R&D that enables progress in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and has collaborated with Plug Power, FedEx, and Workhorse on this work.




I was wondering where they'll get the hydrogen, then I realized someone will Fedex it to them


Easy to make hydrogen on site at the fuel yards.


Major distribution centers for Walmart and Amazon already power their material handling equipment with hydrogen (no more propane or SLA's, no battery charging roms or battery spares and maintenance). They can make the change probably by just adding a couple of stations. FedEx has already acquired (and is running) H2-powered aircraft GSE (tugs, etc.) so it's not that big of a dela for them.

I have not been a Hydrogen advocate, and I'm still a bit skeptical. But My skepticism is waning.


If you make fuel in the yards there is no need for refineries nor hauling.


Fuel cells simply do not have the long term durability of existing options. The DOE's target service life of 5000 hours for transportation should be an eye opener that real world on the road conditions will simply never match what can be achieved in a stationary controlled conditions environment. Assuming 8 hr shifts x 5 days per week x 52 weeks = 2,080 hours. Meaning every 2.5 years could be the cost equivalent of buying a traditional engine.

They'd be better off with a diesel generator in the 1.2L or less range that stays relatively static engine rpm for ideal emissions. NOx emissions are most problematic in a specific rpm range for a diesel where the lack of air incoming to the engine complicates proper functionality of dpf, scr, and misc due to heat variances.


Yuta said:

' Fuel cells simply do not have the long term durability of existing options. The DOE's target service life of 5000 hours for transportation should be an eye opener that real world on the road conditions will simply never match what can be achieved in a stationary controlled conditions environment.'

In fact:

' Ballard Power Systems announced that a fuel cell electric bus powered by Ballard’s FCveloCity-HD6 fuel cells has achieved a new durability record with more than 25,000 hours of revenue service. This is equivalent to operating a bus on a 14-hour daily schedule, 5-days per week for 6.9 years with no significant maintenance to the fuel cell stack, a core engine component.

The bus—and several others nearing the 25,000-hour operating threshold—are part of a Transport for London fleet of 8 fuel cell buses, all powered by Ballard FCveloCity engines. These buses, originally funded under the Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) fuel cell bus program, have been carrying paying passengers on London’s Tower Gateway route since 2010.'

These results have been duplicated elsewhere:


Davemart is correct.

Ballard's FCs can run efficiently for over 25,000 hours. On trucks and intercity buses this could mean up to/over 2,500,000 Km. On the average car-SUV-Pick Up it will give up to/over 1,250,000 Km or the total live time of such vehicles

Future FCs will operate efficiently for as long as or over 50,000 hours and match ICEs with close to zero pollution. Near future much lower cost clean H2 and improved FCs will easily match the best ICEs and EV machines.


We need to know how many hours these will last to the point of failure till anyone can come to a conclusion as to whether this is an economically sane green option. According to article (1) linked below Orange County, California Transportation Authority they are spending $1.2 million per bus while a hybrid model (2) would cost $450K - $550K. That's an insane difference that must be considered to expand public transportation availability.

Smallest diesel crate engine I could find was a 2.8L Cummins engine costing $9K (3) with it's max power 42.5% more than the Ballard fuel cell capability that your buses are using leaving a nice margin for durability.

A Horizon 5KW fuel cell stack costs (4) $20K and the Ballard stack is (17 times more) 85KW would be $340K. I'd speculate in stacks alone buyng in bulk $250K - $300K worth of fuel cell stacks. Nobody can properly compare these without knowing hours till failure.

The only thing we can conclude is for the price of 10 hydrogen fuel cell electric buses @ $12 million we can buy 24 diesel electric hybrid buses. It shouldn't take rocket science to realize having 24 buses removes more cars off the road when possible than 10 buses that are not remarkably better in emissions in regards to raw fuel origin to road.



To add to the last paragraph 14 extra buses I'd speculate even at half capacity would offset more emissions when you consider the cars removed from the road overall.


Fuel cells last, claiming they don't without proof is just hot air.


Claiming FC’s last with anecdotal evidence is also hot air. Last time I checked NREL’s annual report for buses they were still coming up short of manufacturer’s claims. If you rely on manufacturer’s press releases you’ll have an unrealistic perspective.


It is not manufacturer's claims, it is data from actual customers.
Enough with the FUD, use real facts.


"The results for these buses account for more than 550,000 miles traveled and 59,500 hours of fuel cell power system operation."

Your turn, come up with something saying they do not last.


I didn’t say they don’t last but the NREL report did say some last less than 500 hous.True fact in the NREL report.

Now although that is entirely true it is as silly and a misrepresentation as pretending that because a FCEB plant lasted over 25,000 hours (after being transplanted and receiving an overhaul) is typical. The reality in The report is that the average is a tad below 15,000 hours. Why try to pull the wool over peoples eyes? Why not just call like it is?


Whatever, give it a rest, you lost.


I lost? You mean you have no retort and concede ? I think you have confused my posts with someone else’s. Scroll back and re-read to clear your confusion.


Gentlemen, please realize that the NREL data covers a host of manufacturers throughout their development periods. The truth is fuel cell engines can and have lasted over 20,000 hours in real world field conditions without fuel cell stack overhauls. The air blower/compressor needs more maintenance thanks to the bearings. The real question is can this be a cost effective solution given infrastructure costs and increasing competitiveness from battery electrics. Now is actually the most promising to.e for fuel cells thanks to the advancement of batteries. The class 8 trucks that cause the most pollution can be cost effectively replaced with CNG/LNG/BEV/FCEV hybrid systems (short haul port trucks) by properly sizing the fuel cell to battery energy and power, which allows even longer life of the fuel cell by treating it like a base generator and the battery as a peak shaver. It also reduced the cost difference to around $100k so that a regular diesel is 150k, a hybrid might be 200k, and a fuel cell would be 250k in low volumes (10-20). I have no doubt that fuel cells will play a larger role in the future, however niche it may be.

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