LATHAM, N.Y., Oct. 12, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq:PLUG), a leader in providing clean, reliable energy solutions, today announced it is deploying a fleet of 86 GenDrive™ fuel cell units with customer, BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC. The power units will be used at BMW's newly constructed Greer, South Carolina automotive manufacturing plant in class-1 sit-down counterbalance, class-2 reach and class-3 rider pallet trucks. The lift trucks are manufactured by The Raymond Corporation and Crown Equipment Corporation.
Plug Power's GenDrive units competed against lead-acid batteries and fast charge batteries to be deemed the best power source for BMW's material handling fleet. GenDrive is able to offer BMW increased productivity of its lift truck fleet as well as a more efficient use of its facility space. Operational costs are reduced as a result of decreased operator and vehicle downtime. GenDrive fuel cells can be fueled by truck drivers in 60 to 180 seconds. On average, it takes specialized maintenance personnel 20 minutes to change out a depleted lead-acid battery.
BMW will also see reduced greenhouse gas emissions by using GenDrive power units in its operations. Because GenDrive is powered by hydrogen, the only byproducts are heat and water. The removal of toxic lead-acid batteries from this new facility also creates a safer environment for employees as well as the community and helps fulfill BMW's commitment to a hydrogen based economy.BMW Manufacturing's new 1.2 million sq. ft. assembly plant is being built north of its already-operational production facility. "With proven benefits to BMW's business and an existing hydrogen infrastructure in place, there is a high potential to convert the entire campus to GenDrive-powered material handling vehicles over the next three years," said Andy Marsh, Plug Power's CEO. "BMW is pleased to work with partners that share our commitment to clean production. The implementation of a hydrogen fuel cell based application for our material handling equipment helps solidify BMW's position as the leading, sustainable automotive manufacturer," stated Robert Hitt, Department Manager of Public Affairs for BMW Manufacturing.