Hyliion has launched an electric, carbon-negative Class 8 powertrain with a range of over 1,300 miles that doesn’t require charging infrastructure.
The Texas-based company known for its Class 8 diesel and compressed natural gas hybrid powertrains is powering the electric motors of its Hypertruck Electric Range Extender (ERX) with a battery pack that’s charged by an onboard natural gas generator.
When fueled with renewable natural gas (RNG), Hypertruck’s carbon score actually runs below zero. The California Air Resources Board reported in 2018 that RNG’s carbon intensity (CI) score was as low as -303.30 (based on an adjusted estimated energy efficiency ratio) while electric scored between +25 and +38.95. The reason? RNG is produced from methane which CARB considers to be much more hazardous to the ozone layer than other gases such as CO2 and NOx.
RNG production captures methane that otherwise would have entered the atmosphere so hence the fuel’s exceptionally low -303.30 CI score along with its growing popularity. Natural Gas Vehicles for America reported last year that RNG’s use as a transportation fuel in trucks and buses had increased 577 percent.
Not to be outdone, fuel cell trucks running on hydrogen gas can extract that fuel from renewable natural gas. UPS told Hard Working Trucks in 2017 that they were banking on renewable hydrogen as a global propulsion solution. The shipping giant has Class 6 fuel cell delivery trucks in California where more hydrogen stations can be found than in any other state in the nation, which is not saying much considering the relative scarcity of hydrogen stations.
Hyliion’s current advantage rests with a much larger fueling infrastructure: 700-plus natural gas stations across the U.S. versus 43 stations for hydrogen, 42 of which reside in California, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
With the push for zero-emission trucking growing, particularly with California’s recent announcement requiring phased-in sales of zero-emission commercial trucks and vans, Hyliion may have struck gold twice with CARB and other tough-minded agencies in other states that often embrace California’s emissions regulations.
“Hyliion is leading the way in electrified trucking. Our practical solution addresses the most important needs of today’s fleets: cost savings, lower emissions and a fueling infrastructure that can support long-haul transportation,” said Hyliion’s CEO and founder, Thomas Healy. “We’re already seeing robust interest in the Hypertruck ERX from fleets like Agility who are looking for electric solutions that can be seamlessly integrated.”
Agility Logistics has confirmed a pre-order of up to 1,000 trucks and has agreed to invest in a private offering of securities to be issued by Tortoise Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: SHLL) in connection with Hyliion’s recently announced reverse merger with that company.
“The Hyliion technology is so game-changing that all companies, especially those with consumer-facing brands, will be forced to adapt,” said Tarek Sultan, vice chairman and CEO of Agility. “It’s a triple win: Protect the environment, keep customers happy and benefit shareholders by improving the bottom line. We look forward to bringing significant cost savings and greater efficiency to our customers.”
While battery electric vehicle manufacturers often boast of low energy costs in terms of refueling, Hyliion reports that its powertrain “produces electricity at roughly 30 percent less than the average grid cost, which yields a seven-year cost-of-ownership unmatched by any diesel, battery-electric (BEV) or hydrogen fuel-cell (FCEV) Class 8 truck under development.”
Compared to diesel, Hypertruck reports that its RNG fuel costs are up to 35% less expensive on a miles per diesel gallon equivalent.
Though RNG is considered a carbon negative fuel, it will produce emissions during combustion. In cities where zero emissions may be required, Hypertruck can run solely on battery power for up to 25 miles or more, depending on battery pack selection.
Hyliion reports that Hypertruck can accelerate from zero to sixty time in 20 seconds fully loaded at 80,000 lbs. Hypertuck is also reported to be lighter than any long-haul diesel or fully electric Class 8 truck. Refueling the truck takes about 10 minutes or less.
Continuing Hyliion’s long-standing partner relationship with Dana Incorporated, the Hypertruck ERX will feature Dana’s electric motor, inverter and axle technologies, and Dana plans to provide its manufacturing capabilities to support Hyliion in achieving full volume production of its powertrain systems. Initial Hypertruck ERX fleet demonstration vehicles have already been allocated to customers for delivery in 2021, with volume shipments scheduled in 2022. Trucks can be reserved at $5,000 each.