What makes an electric truck 'electric'?
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What makes an electric truck ‘electric’?

Jason Morgan is the content director of Fleet Equipment.


The headline can seem like a silly question, but consider the Hyliion Hypertruck ERX–it’s an electric powertrain truck where batteries are being charged and they power the Meritor 14Xe e-axle. But it has a range of 1,000 miles. The catch? The batteries are charged by an on-board natural gas generator and the truck is fueled up with compressed natural gas. From a driver point of view, the experience is much more comparable to a battery electric truck vs. a diesel or even natural gas truck because of the electric powertrain. From a fleet point of view, it’s a hybrid with an ICE natural gas engine, so how much more sustainable is your operation?

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And this is where the sustainability conversation becomes complicated. Sustainability means more than eliminating tail pipe emissions. Let’s say you do that but you charge your trucks via a utility that is burning coal to supply you. You just moved your emissions load from your trucks, to the utility.

Thomas Healy, founder and CEO of Hyliion, answers the natural gas emissions question with: If you’re using renewable natural gas, you could actually have a net-negative carbon score operating the Hypertruck ERX (“net-negative” is a good thing.) During a ride in the Hypertruck ERX across Austin, Texas, highways, I talked with Healy about electric powertrain development, the role of hybrids in sustainable equipment strategies, and where he sees the Hypertruck ERX fitting into the market.


Watch the video above for the Hypertruck ERX ride and drive and conversation with Healy.

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