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Mercedes-Benz Adds Fuel Cell Investment to New $70m Logistics Center

Mercedes-Benz has been saying for some time now the fuel cell vehicles are coming, and while eyes are on that potential a few years hence, the company is actually investing heavily now in fuel cells for more ordinary purposes in its own logistics operations.

Mercedes-Benz Adds Fuel Cell Investment to New $70m Logistics Center

The company opened the world's first dedicated fuel cell stack facility in Canada and announced it has ordered 123 additional hydrogen-based GenDrive fuel cell units to power forklift trucks for its new material handling fleet at its logistics hub now under construction in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

These fuel cell modules are drop-in units to replace lead-acid batteries and add to 72 GenDrive fuel cells purchased last July for the lift truck fleet at its Tuscaloosa vehicle assembly plant.

Mercedes-Benz began construction earlier this year on the $70m, 900,000 square-foot state-of-the-art warehouse, which is to be next to the assembly plant.

According to the fuel cell supplier, Plug Power, the massive facility will support M-B's receiving, handling and sequencing of parts for M-Class and GL-Class SUVs and R-Class crossover vehicles currently in production, as well as for the successor generation of the current C-Class for the North American market beginning in 2014.

It is expected that the new GenDrive-powered forklift fleet will be operational by the fourth quarter of 2013.

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