Two companies are teaming up to offer what they say are the world’s first electric, fuel cell-powered Class 6 trucks capable of supporting middle-mile delivery logistics between warehouses and distribution centers.
Plug Power Inc., a provider of hydrogen engines and fueling solutions enabling e-mobility, announced a partnership with Colorado-based Lightning Systems, a global developer of zero-emission drivetrains. The zero-emission commercial trucks produced by the partnership will be powered by an integrated hybrid-electric drivetrain consisting of Plug Power’s ProGen fuel cell engines coupled with Lightning Systems’ electric vehicle drivetrain and batteries.
Lightning Systems also will offer customers advanced diagnostics and analytics powered by its artificial neural network technology. This technology enables customers to easily track vehicle and fuel cell system data for analysis, driver training, and route optimization. Plug Power said it offers the world’s largest service and support network of certified fuel cell service technicians deployed throughout North America.
Final production and testing of the new vehicles will be completed at Plug Power’s headquarters in Latham, New York, before they are made commercially available to the public in the third quarter of 2020.
Plug Power and Lightning Systems will deliver both standard and long-range Class 6 trucks through their partnership, taking advantage of the value that fuel cells offer in commercial fleets where high utilization, long range, fast fueling, and maximization of cargo volume and payload are important.
Plug Power’s ProGen engines provide 90 kW of fuel cell power and use the latest generation of the company’s proprietary MEA and metal plate stack technology, which delivers "industry-leading" power density, according to the company. The standard vehicle offering includes 20kg of on-board hydrogen storage, delivering average range (for typical route profiles) in excess of 200 miles. An extended range option is also available, effectively doubling the standard average range to 400 miles.
"This partnership allows us to meet our customers’ needs at every stage of their journey, from fuel cell-powered forklifts on the warehouse floor to last-mile delivery and now middle-mile delivery between distribution centers as well," said Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh. We’re proud to say that we now offer sustainable solutions for every link in the global supply chain.”
Tim Reeser, CEO for Lightning Systems, called this "a natural next product" for the company, because its modular powertrains were designed to support both battery-electric and fuel cell-electric vehicle configurations. "Plug Power’s hydrogen fuel cell system dovetails elegantly with our existing technology.”