Plug Power Expands ECommerce Use of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells at Walmart

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

Plug Power, a provider of hydrogen engines and fueling solutions, is expanding its support of Walmart’s eCommerce network. Plug Power currently supports more than 9,500 GenDrive fuel cell-powered vehicles used by 37 Walmart distribution centers across North America.

Plug Power has provided GenKey hydrogen and fuel cells since 2010 for Walmart’s material handling fleet. The company began expanding into Walmart’s eCommerce network, with the first deployments in August 2020, and additional expansion planned in 2021.

Flexibility, scalability, and fast fueling make Plug Power products positioned for growth and the peak demands of eCommerce applications. Operating at 99 percent uptime with constant power performance in Walmart’s material handling fleet, Plug Power enabled Walmart to fulfill increased demand from customers during the pandemic.

ProGen and GenDrive fuel cell solutions power a variety of vehicles including material handling trucks, tuggers, automated guided vehicles, airport ground support equipment, and Class 3-8 commercial fleet vehicles for middle and last-mile delivery applications.

“This application expansion signifies the next step as we support Walmart’s eCommerce business while helping them meet the operational goals important to both Walmart and consumers,” said Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO.

“The challenges this year have increased demand on leading brands providing necessary goods and services to customers. At our distribution facilities across the country, our decision to be an early adopter of hydrogen fuel cells has helped us manage and meet the increased demand for food and basic supplies,” said Jeff Smith, Senior Director Walmart Supply Chain. “This is why we’re excited to expand these solutions into our eCommerce network in 2021.”

Creating the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology, Plug Power deployed over 38,000 fuel cell systems for e-mobility and has become the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen. A significant value proposition to end-customers, this includes environmental benefits, efficiency gains, fast fueling, and lower operational costs.

Leveraging its know-how, modular product architecture, and foundational customers the company is expanding into other markets including zero-emission on-road vehicles, robotics, and data centers.

[Images: Plug Power]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Dec 18, 2020

    If Walmart is looking at hydrogen fuel cells instead of pure EVs then there is something to hydrogen. Regardless of people's opinions about Walmart they have one of the best most efficient distribution systems and Walmart runs very efficient operations. I commented on another article that for most commercial uses hydrogen was a more viable option versus pure EVs. Walmart realizes that eventually they will not be able to buy new diesel trucks due to regulations and hydrogen gives them a more cost effective way for long distance transportation. This also gives Walmart the green credentials.

  • Jimble Jimble on Dec 18, 2020

    Nice puff piece. Did they pay you for reprinting their press release? I like this company and wish them the best -- they're located near where I grew up, and they're trying to carve out a useful niche with interesting technology. But they've never been even close to profitable and it's hard to see how they ever will be because they're dependent on a very small number of customers that could easily yank the rug out from under them.

    • RHD RHD on Dec 19, 2020

      As soon as they start to feel safe, Walmart will "renegotiate" their contract, entirely to Walmart's favor, of course. Plug Power will have to take it or leave it. "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it further."

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.