BMW using hydrogen fuel cells in new Upstate facility

GREER, S.C. (AP) -- BMW Manufacturing Co. says it will use hydrogen fuel cells to power material-handling equipment in its new South Carolina assembly facility where the BMW X3 is made.

The company said in a news release Monday that the only byproduct of the fuel cells is heat and water, making it an efficient and environmentally friendly option.

The company says 85 pieces of equipment will be powered by the hydrogen fuel cells. The cells maintain the same level of power even as the tank nears empty, unlike batteries that run slower as they run down. The fuel cells can be recharged in 20 minutes.

The company estimates it would have taken 1.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year to charge a battery-powered fleet.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)