Fleet Maintenance
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Hyliion founder on hybrid truck benefits; roadmap to hydrogen

Hyliion founder and CEO Thomas Healy discusses the benefits of the company’s hybrid powertrains and hydrogen-powered future.
Mar 23, 2022
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BY TYLER FUSSNER

As the industry continues to announce and reveal electrified vehicle solutions and technologies, fleets must contend with finding solutions that fit their operations efficiently. There are many questions fleets bring to the electrification discussion, such as when to adopt and for what applications. What to do about charging infrastructure and what duty cycles make sense for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are two other big ones.

Today, fully battery-electric trucks are range-limited, offering less than 300 miles per charge, so one powertrain manufacturer seeking to own a chunk of the market, Hyliion, chose to offer a different approach.

The Hypertruck ERX (elec­tric range extender) generates its own electricity from compressed natural gas for a range of nearly 1,000 miles. Kenworth tried and abandoned a similar concept with the T680.

The lighter Hybrid eX solution drops an electric axle onto a diesel or CNG truck’s chassis to reap the benefits of electrification, such as regenerative braking and less power­train maintenance. Cummins and Navistar unsuccessfully tried that over  a decade ago.

But the future is not yet written, so Fleet Maintenance spoke with Hyliion Found­er and CEO Thomas Healy to gain some insights into how the company fits into the current electric landscape, and how hydrogen may power its longterm success.

[Edited for length and clarity]

Fleet Maintenance: Can you tell us about Hyliion and your journey into hybrid electrification?

Thomas Healy: Electrifying trucking has been the mission of Hyliion since day one. We wanted to find ways that we can come in and provide emission reduction technology—coupling that with a cost-saving technology as well—in order to get fleets to move over to electrification.

When we looked at this landscape, we asked, ‘Well, does it make sense to become an OEM to make an entire vehicle? Or does it make sense to become a powertrain company where we have the ability to work with all the OEMs? And then, we can let fleets adopt our solutions, but do it on a platform and a chassis that they already know and love.’

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