FedEx Tests New Fuel Cell Delivery Van

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【Summary】Two companies – Plug Power and Workhorse Group – have teamed up to build a fuel-cell vehicle for FedEx. Currently, the delivery company is trying it out on routes in New York.

Original Mia Bevacqua    May 02, 2018 3:49 PM PT
FedEx Tests New Fuel Cell Delivery Van

Next time you get a package, it could be delivered by a fuel-cell vehicle. FedEx recently got its first North American fuel-cell-powered truck, built by Plug Power and Workhorse Group.

Hydrogen-electric E-GEN van

Workhorse is known for creating commercial electric vehicles like its E-GEN, which is the platform for the FedEx truck. The E-GEN Range Extender uses custom 80 kWh Panasonic battery packs, along with a 200 kW TM4 electric motor and BMW W20 REx engine. The combination works seamlessly to provide significant fuel and mileage savings.

Plug Power, an industry leader in fuel-cell solutions, will provide the Workhorse truck with an electricity source. Instead of using the BMW gasoline engine, like other E-GEN models, the FedEx truck will be powered by a  ProGen hydrogen fuel cell system. The two fuel cells can run independently of one another if one is shut down. Each will also receive its own radiator.

The FedEx rig stores 11.6 kg of hydrogen @ 350 bar in 6 tanks. Since delivery vans can't afford to give up any cargo space, the tanks are stored in the wheel wells. For refueling, Plug Power has a hydrogen station in Latham, New York. It's the first of its kind in that area.

FedEx isn't taking any chances when it comes to safety. The van is fitted with leak detection sensors, which instruct the system to shut down if hydrogen escapes. There's also emergency venting through vertical chimneys in the rear corners of the vehicle.

Reducing consumption with fuel-cell technology

Right now, FedEx is testing the electrified hauler at its service facility in Menands, NY. The truck is also making the rounds on a nearby standard delivery route, racking up 3,000 miles. It's expected to cover 27,000 miles in the first six months.

Over two years, FedEx anticipates the fuel-cell truck program will reduce fuel consumption by 100,000 gallons. Soon, there may be a more eco-friendly way to receive your Amazon delivery.

Sources: Workhorse and FedEx

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