Plug Power began development of a lithium based hybrid battery system to replace its nickel-metal hydride hybrid batteries, in order to improve performance and reduce cost of its GenDrive™ products for the materials handling market. In November 2008, Plug Power partnered with MGL, a leader in lithium ion batteries and materials, to develop an advanced lithium based platform that could be easily configured to meet a range of applications.
Plug Power led the mechanical development as well as creation of a robust battery management system to ensure product performance and safety. MGL focused on optimizing its high power lithium cells, and establishing the manufacturing capacity for the cells and the finished battery systems. By last fall, Plug Power had introduced these products into its class 2 and class 3 GenDrive power units.
The most significant near-term adjacent market for this battery system technology is the rapidly growing Chinese hybrid automotive industry. The new agreement will see Plug Power and MGL introduce their products to this industry, where ‘New Energy’ sponsored programs support the deployment of at least 500 000 hybrid and electric vehicles over the next four years.
Last fall Coca-Cola Consolidated said it will install Plug Power fuel cell powered forklifts at its Charlotte, North Carolina production center during 2010. And last spring Nestlé Waters North America reported the successful installation of Plug Power GenDrive hydrogen fuel cells in a fleet of lift trucks at its Dallas, Texas bottling facility.