John Deere produces fuel cell vehicle

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MOLINE, Ill. – Deere and Company is working with Hydrogenics Corporation, a Canadian fuel cell manufacturer, to develop a technology demonstrator fuel cell-powered Commercial Work Vehicle.

Deere is sharing plans for the vehicle at this week’s Electric Transportation Industry Conference and Exposition in Hollywood, Fla. The demonstrator will be a modified John Deere Pro-Gator) Utility Vehicle.

“This vehicle will serve as a technology guide as John Deere moves forward with electrification of its products,” said Bruce Wood, director of the company’s ePower Technologies group, which plans to test the fuel cell-powered CWV at demonstration sites across the U.S. starting in the spring of 2003.

Wood said Deere is undertaking several electrification initiatives including the use of advanced battery technologies, diesel- and gasoline- hybrid electric technologies and hydrogen fuel cell technologies to add performance and efficiency capabilities to existing products.

Also at the conference, Deere is showing its prototype gasoline- electric zero-turning radius lawn tractor and its currently available electric-powered E-Gator Utility Vehicle.

Benefits include significant efficiency gains, improved performance through integrated power management, flexible vehicle architecture, lower emissions, simplified manufacturing and service, and other new customer features.

Deere offered no specific timetable for more widespread use of electric vehicles. However, Wood said, the company believes use of the technologies in its off-road equipment offers the best opportunity to commercialize significant numbers of electric vehicles.

He said off-road applications would likely be implemented several years before widespread use of electric or hybrid-powered cars. This will occur because off-road equipment is most often managed as a fleet with centralized fueling and service.

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