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PHOTO CAPTION: FedEx eStar electric delivery van, one of several types operated by the package delivery service.

FedEx to Trial Fuel Cell Range Extenders

PlugPower will will develop hydrogen fuel cell range extenders for 20 FedEx electric delivery vans, mirroring a similar experiment by the French postal service.

Published: 12-Jan-2014

Plug Power, a leading developer of hydrogen fuel cells, has announced that it will design fuel cell range extenders for FedEx. The postal organization is set to use these fuel cells for 20 electric delivery trucks. Electric vehicles have been growing more common in the postal sector in recent years as organizations continue to look for ways to cut down on emissions and fuel costs. A similar project involving fuel cell range extenders is currently underway in France as well.

DOE throws support behind new project
The project is being funded by the Department of Energy. The federal agency has been investing more heavily in fuel cells in recent years, especially when it comes to using these energy systems in transportation. Hydrogen fuel had initially been considered little more than science fiction by the Department of Energy, but the agency has shifted its view on fuel cells and now backs numerous projects concerning their use.

Range extenders could make FedEx vehicles more viable
Electric delivery trucks being used by FedEx are limited to 80 miles per charge of their lithium-ion batteries. This makes their operational range quite small. By equipping these vehicles with fuel cell range extenders, FedEx believes that the range of these vehicles will be doubled. This will increase the efficiency of these vehicles and increase the amount of time they can operate before needing to be charged again.

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