Plug Power Inc. announced that Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc. (MBUSI) has ordered 123 additional hydrogen-based GenDrive fuel cell units to power new forklift trucks for its material handling fleet at a logistics hub now under construction in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Last July, Mercedes purchased 72 of these fuel cells for the lift truck fleet at its Tuscaloosa vehicle assembly plant. Earlier this year, construction began on a $70 million, 900,000 square-foot state-of-the-art warehouse. This new facility is designed to streamline logistics operations and support the receiving, handling and sequencing of parts for M-Class and GL-Class SUVs and R-Class crossover vehicles currently in production, as well as for the successor generation of the current C-Class for the North American market beginning in 2014. It is expected that the new fuel-cell-powered forklift fleet will be operational by the fourth quarter of 2013.
It is anticipated that the coming logistics center, which will be as large as the current vehicle assembly plant, will receive about 240 semi-trailer truck deliveries daily and the hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift trucks will handle approximately 2.9 million automotive parts per day.