Wal-Mart may have a hand in many of America’s societal woes, but at least they’re trying to go green by buying 1,738 Plug Power hydrogen forklifts. This will more than quadruple the retailer’s current fleet of zero-emissions forklifts, and is another front in Wal-Mart’s war on emissions.
Far be it from me to defend Wal-Mart’s excessive outsourcing and hideously low wages. However, America’s largest retailer is making a concentrated effort to lower its fuel consumption and emissions output with projects like the WAVE hybrid semi truck. Wal-Mart already uses 535 hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts from Plug Power, and was impressed enough to spend an estimated $50 million to order another 1,738 over the next two years. Not only are these vehicles good for Wal-Mart’s image, but they’re good for the bottom line as well.
Wal-Mart prefers the hydrogen powered units to electric forklifts because they take less time to recharge, meaning less downtime. The big box store is all about efficiency, and having half a fleet of electric forklifts sidelined for recharging is no bueno. The big order has helped Plug Powers shares, and the New York-based company is currently getting orders from all around the country and world, though there are those that think the fuel cell company is running out of cash and steam.
Tell that to Wal-Mart, eh?