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

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
plug power expands ecommerce use of hydrogen and fuel cells at walmart

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]

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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."

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.