Hyliion recently hosted its inaugural Investor Day at its headquarters in Austin, Texas. Featuring a facility tour, ride and drive and an in-depth look into the company’s emerging and current product offerings, the day was filled with a multitude of hybrid powertrain discussions. Here are some of the standout takeaways from the event.
During the event, Hyliion announced the start of production for its Hypertruck ERX system at its headquarters. The company remains on track to begin customer deliveries later this year, with the aim of delivering 30 Hypertruck ERX units by the end of 2023.
The Hypertruck ERX is a series-hybrid electric powertrain system designed to be integrated into the Peterbilt Model 579. A Cummins 12 L natural gas engine is paired to a generator to charge a pair of batteries and power two e-axles.
However, it’s worth mentioning that the company is actively progressing in engineering development to phase out the Cummins 12 L for the new Cummins 15 L to further enhance the truck’s overall performance and sustainability, scheduled for 2025. This upgrade will allow the system to generate more battery power for the eAxles, further enhancing the truck’s overall performance and sustainability. Weighing less than the 12L engine, it will be Peterbilt’s standard engine going forward.
The Hyliion Co-Pilot, a tablet monitoring system within the cab, will alert the driver with various operational stats such as system temperatures, generator status, pressures and fault codes of each of the three drive modes available: automatic drive, manual EV and manual charge. Behind the cab sits two battery packs totaling 211 kWh that power the Meritor 14Xe axles, providing 670 HP. While typically recharged by the onboard generator and regen braking, the Hypertruck ERX also allows for DC fast-charging. The natural gas engine tank is equivalent to a 175-gallon diesel truck.
With a complete battery charge alone, a fully-loaded vehicle can travel up to 75 miles. Using the Cummins natural gas engine as a generator to charge the batteries, as well as leveraging features like regenerative braking, a fully loaded tractor-trailer range can reach up to 1,000 miles on a single CNG fill up, the company says.
Hyliion notes that the extent of emissions savings hinges on several factors, including driver behavior, load capacity, trailer type, geographical location, and the choice of fuel. These variables determine the overall environmental impact, making it imperative to optimize them for the most efficient solution.
While direct numbers weren’t provided, Hyliion says that its ERX model is compliant with the 2027 Low-NOx emissions requirement set by both the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which mandates a limit of 0.02 g/bhp-hr. This level is 90% lower than the existing diesel standard established by the North American EPA.
Karno stationary model unveiling
Hyliion also unveiled a full-scale model of the 200 kW Karno generator unit for in-house energy use. Karno is a hydrogen and fuel-agnostic-capable generator, which Hyliion says is designed to operate with similar efficiencies to modern power plants, and can be deployed on-site and support the energy demands of electrification and charging.
Next-gen Hypertruck ERX– equipped truck
The company revealed that it is currently working on the next version of the Hypertruck ERX, which will be a day cab model. Hyliion aims to have the new powertrain ready for release by 2025 and available in the Peterbilt Model 579. model. This development, according to Hyliion, is in line with the Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation (ACF) approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which imposes earlier requirements on day cabs.
Although the initial cost of the truck will exceed that of traditional diesel trucks currently in use, Hyliion says the savings will be realized through reduced maintenance expenses, as the more efficient engine will have a longer operational lifespan due to a lack of soot and particulates. Thomas Healy, Hyliion’s chief executive officer, says that the cost-effectiveness of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) compared to diesel or other Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) options is projected to result in a return on investment of approximately three years.
Hyliion’s third-gen Hypertruck fuel cell hybrid
Hyliion also provided updates on its collaboration with Hyzon, a supplier of hydrogen fuel cell systems. Parker Meeks, chief executive officer at Hyzon, showcased the company’s recently unveiled 200-kW fuel cell stack, a device that combines multiple fuel cells together to generate electricity from hydrogen fuel to efficiently convert fuel into electrical energy.
This involves equipping a Peterbilt Model 579 with the Hyliion Hypertruck powertrain and Hyzon’s fuel cell stack as opposed to Hyliion’s CNG engine. Healy predicted that the initial adoption of hydrogen vehicles would initially occur in specific regions centered around refueling stations catering to trucks.
According to the companies, the first prototype will be available early Q4 of this year and more information is to follow leading up to the launch.