Plug Power Inc. (PLUG) announced Wednesday that it has shipped the first production ProGen fuel-cell engines for use in electric delivery vehicles.
The announcement signals the Latham, N.Y.-based firm’s larger initiative to diversify its products outside the material-handling market, which comprises about 80% of the firm’s total sales.
Energy Firm Extends Reach
Plug Power says the new fuel-cell engines will extend its reach into the on-road electric vehicle market, increasing its served market for fuel-cell products and hydrogen fueling stations. The company indicates that the ProGen engine will enhance electric-vehicle range, making them a “viable solution for a wide range of applications, including parcel delivery and service trucks, municipal and government fleets, taxis and port vehicles.”
The first of the ProGen deliveries will be used as range extenders in FedEx Corp.’s (FDX) electric delivery vans in the greater Los Angeles area. In the second quarter of this year, ProGen engine shipments will be used in delivery vans in China and for on-road trials and certification.
A Booming Chinese Market
Plug Power highlighted that China is an important market for its latest electric vehicle technology, as it is “actively driving fuel cell and hydrogen adoption within the country.” Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh has spent extended periods in China in the past year, signing deals with government agencies and industry leaders, particularly in the auto space. Marsh says the country intends to invest a whopping $100 billion in fuel-cell energy technology through 2030.
“The electrification of the auto market is undeniable,” said Marsh. “But, common to those who consider adoption is 'range anxiety'—that being a fear that the vehicle will not make it to its next charge opportunity or have sufficient range for the application. ProGen eliminates that stress, and for that reason, we see this market as large and impactful to Plug Power’s bottom line.” (See also: Behind Plug Power’s Recent Plummet.)