BMW has been developing hydrogen cars since 1979. Their latest vehicle is the dual fuel BMW Hydrogen 7 which can run on either compressed H2 gas or gasoline with the press of a button.
But, what has been missing from most of the major automaker’s lineup is the use of hydrogen fuel cell forklifts at the automakers assembly plants. Well, now BMW has decided to follow Nissan’s lead and buy fuel cell forklifts and palette trucks (at total of 85) for their newly opened Greer, South Carolina automotive manufacturing plant.
The Crown Equipment Corporation and Raymond Corporation actually manufactured the forklifts and palette trucks. The battery system was replaced by Plug Power’s GenDrive fuel cell units.
The Linde Corporation is supplying the hydrogen fueling system that includes 6 indoor fueling stations, so there will be no waiting in line to refuel. Refueling times are 1 to 3 minutes for the hydrogen forklifts compared to 20-plus minutes for swapping out lead acid batteries.
Some would say that it’s about time BMW put their money where their mouths are in regard to bringing hydrogen fueled vehicles into everyday use within their manufacturing facilities. One could also say its way past due for GM, Ford, Toyota, Daimler and Honda to do the same.