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Hyliion and Hyzon Motors will collaborate on fuel cell truck

Startups join forces for 3rd phase of Hyliion’s hypertruck

Hyliion Holdings will work with Hyzon Motors on a fuel cell version of its Hypertruck ERX. (Photo: Hyliion)

The first version of Hyliion’s hybrid-electric truck is still about a year from production. But the third version of the Hypertruck ERX will be a hydrogen-powered fuel cell developed with Hyzon Motors, the companies said Wednesday.

The two startups expect to integrate a Hyliion electric powertrain system with a Hyzon fuel cell by late this year. Production would follow when sufficient hydrogen fueling infrastructure is available, Hyliion founder and CEO Thomas Healy said Wednesday.

“Initial adoption of hydrogen vehicles will likely occur in a regional fashion surrounding fueling locations designed to support trucks,” Healy said on a conference call with analysts. “As more stations are built out and the cost of hydrogen comes down, we expect to see adoption grow and applications shift from regional to include long haul.”

Hyliion has a product road map that moves from natural gas to a fuel-agnostic generator — technology purchased from General Electric — as its second product. It will show a mockup of the Karno generator in a Hypertruck in May at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Anaheim, California.

Hypertruck production on track for Q4

The first Hyliion product — a natural gas-electric-powered Hypertruck ERX — is undergoing winter testing for durability. Hyliion has 210 orders for the Peterbilt 579-based sleeper cab. They are capable of 75 miles of pure electric operation before switching to natural gas or renewable natural gas (RNG) for up to 1,000 miles.

A slow production ramp is on target for Q4. All orders guaranteed by deposit scheduled for delivery by the end of Q1 2024. Supply chain disruptions that plagued many industries in the past two years are easing. Even now, many ERX components take six months or more to get, Healy said.

The hybrid approach differs from battery-electric plug-ins, which max out around 200 to 300 miles of driving before requiring a recharge that can take from 90 minutes to several hours. But the trucking industry transition is mostly focused on moving from diesel fuel to pure electric operation because regulations require a dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

Running on RNG and electricity, the Hypertruck ERX could achieve a negative net carbon profile better than a battery-electric truck.

Hyliion loss widens in Q4 and 2022

Hyliion reported a larger fourth-quarter and full-year 2022 loss.

For full-year 2022, Hyliion’s net loss totaled $124.6 million. That excluded $28.8 million of one-time research and development expenses related to the Karno generator acquisition in Q3. Hyliion lost $96 million in 2021.

The company said its trucks qualify for an Inflation Reduction Act incentive of $40,000 each and for 100% credit under a pending California rule expected to require fleets to purchase zero-emission vehicles.

It expects certifications from the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this year. Those are critical to starting production in the fourth quarter.

Hyliion in better financial condition than Hyzon

Hyliion is in better shape financially. It ended 2022 with $422 million in cash and equivalents, down from $455 million at the end of Q3. It has sufficient money to get the ERX into production and develop the Karno technology and the Hyzon collaboration. 

Hyliion’s market capitalization is about $508 million. Its shares closed unchanged Wednesday at $2.83. In contrast to a recent wave of tech layoffs, Hyliion added 50 employees last year.

It expects to have $130 million to $140 million in operating expenses this year. Hyliion does not anticipate raising new capital, CFO John Panzer said. That makes it an outlier among transportation technology startups. Several are merging to survive. Others are teetering on the edge of going out of business.

Hyzon, spun out of Singapore’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technologies in 2021, is a financially struggling startup distracted by federal investigations. Hyzon shares trade at just over $1 on the Nasdaq, which recently gave the company an extension to get back into compliance with the stock exchange or face delisting. It has a market capitalization of about $322 million.

Hyliion buys generator technology from GE

Cummins working with Hyliion on certifying natural gas engines

Fuel cell truck maker Hyzon Motors increases risk of Nasdaq delisting

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.