Deere Plans Fuel Cell Technology Vehicle

Thu December 19, 2002 - National Edition

MOLINE, Ill., /PRNewswire-- Deere & Company said that it is working with Hydrogenics Corporation, a Canadian fuel cell manufacturer, to develop a technology demonstrator fuel cell-powered Commercial Work Vehicle (CWV).

Deere shared plans for the vehicle at the recent Electric Transportation Industry Conferenceand Exposition in Hollywood, FL. The demonstrator will be a modified John Deere Pro-Gator(TM) Utility Vehicle.

“This vehicle will serve as a technology guide as John Deeremoves 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- andgasoline- hybrid electric technologies and hydrogen fuel cell technologies to add performance and efficiency capabilities to existing products.

Also at the Florida conference, Deere showed its prototype gasoline- electric zero-turning radius lawn tractor and its currently available electric-powered E-Gator(TM) Utility Vehicle.

“Although our initial prototypes and demonstrators are in the smaller turf care products, we believe these technologies eventually will be applied in larger equipment as well,” Wood said. “Electrification will enable our products to have significantly reduced emissions and noise levels with improved efficiency and sustained high performance.”

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.