Workhorse built the class 5 E-GEN delivery van, which is charged by a ProGen hydrogen engine made by Latham, N.Y.-based fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power. The van is already in service at the FedEx facility in Menands, N.Y., near Albany, on a standard delivery route and has been run in weather including rain and snow. It refuels using Plug Power’s hydrogen fueling station in nearby Latham, reportedly one of the first of its kind on the entire East Coast, and boasts a driving range of more than 160 miles per delivery cycle, which Plug Power says is a 166 percent increase over standard battery-electric power alone.
Plug Power offers few details about ProGen except to say it’s a suite of modular fuel-cell engines are “flexible power building blocks” designed for electric vehicle platforms. The new FCEV has accumulated more than 3,000 on-road miles in testing and is expected to accumulate more than 27,000 miles of driving in the first six months. It’s designed to save fleet operators money on fuel and other operational costs, reducing the total costs of ownership over time.
In a release, Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said the collaboration with Workhorse and FedEx “is the beginning of a hydrogen transformation in the delivery van industry. Opportunities to provide on-road customers with business-improving power solutions, as we have in our collaboration with FedEx, builds on our significant experience transforming the way our clients in the material handling industry do business.” The companies were also assisted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office through their support of early stage research and development work.
Commercial vehicles seem to be a newer focus for Plug Power, which has focused mostly on forklifts and mobile power solutions to date.
We most recently heard from Workhorse, meanwhile, when it launched the N-Gen, an electric delivery van with an optional range extender and delivery drone. It’s also working with UPS to develop an all-new electric delivery van with a 100-mile driving range.
Prior to that, it opened up reservations for its new W-15 plug-in hybrid pickup truck, which will have an expected starting price of $52,500 and be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles. That truck, which has an 80-mile electric driving range, is expected to start deliveries to fleet operators late in 2018 and to regular customers in 2019.