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Hyliion gathers fleets to test natural gas-electric hybrid truck

Startup unbowed by stock collapse as it pursues negative net-zero carbon truck

Hyliion Holdings has formed a group of fleet, logistics and transportation companies to test its natural gas-electric hybrid Class 8 truck. (Photo: Hyliion Holdings)

The sell-off of electric vehicle startup stocks has been as brutal as their frothy days of only a few months ago.

Hyliion Holdings is one of the hardest-hit young companies. But it is pushing ahead with its plans for a natural gas-electric hybrid truck capable of emitting less than net-zero carbon. Its share price has fallen from nearly $55 just before it went public in October to close Wednesday at $10.86.

On Wednesday, Hyliion said it has created a Hypertruck Innovation Council of fleets, logistics and transportation companies to test its prototype Class 8 Hypertruck ERX.

Hyliion does not make trucks. It develops hybrid driveline systems that can be swapped into any major manufacturer’s tractors. Hyliion is using Peterbilt Model 579s for its Hypertruck test models. 

The future for hybrids is in question as most of the trucking industry focuses on zero-emission battery-electric trucks. And interest is growing in hydrogen fuel cells for long-haul trucking. Kenworth Truck Co. said recently it would halt work on a natural-gas electric Class 8 T680 by the end of the year. It delivered two of the trucks for fleet testing.

Familiar players on council

The innovation council includes Agility Logistics, American Natural Gas, Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD), GreenPath Logistics, NFI Industries, Penske Truck Leasing, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Ryder System Inc., (NYSE: R) Schneider National (NYSE: SNDR), Wegmans Food Markets and Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN).

“We are excited to work with Hyliion to help shape the future of trucking and ensure a more sustainable future for everyone,” Werner Vice Chairman, President and CEO Derek Leathers said. in a press release.

Agility preordered 1,000 Hypertruck ERXs last June. American Natural Gas is working with Hyliion on additional natural gas fueling stations. It also preordered 250 Hypertruck ERX units. Penske and Wegmans use Hyliion’s first product, a hybrid-electric powertrain that boosts the efficiency and power of diesel and natural gas trucks.

NFI and Anheuser-Busch are new to Hyliion. But both are involved in zero-emission trucking demonstrations. NFI is running eCascadias from Daimler Trucks North America and Volvo VNR Electric demo units in California. Anheuser-Busch will be the first to test fuel cell heavy-duty trucks from Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) late this year. 

In aggregate, the council represents more than 100,000 Class 8 commercial trucks. 

‘Collective strengths’

“Now more than ever, fleets need efficient and affordable technologies that also address broader sustainability goals,” Hyliion founder and CEO Thomas Healy said in a press release. “Our collective strengths will help Hyliion unlock the potential for electrification technology while advancing our customers’ operations and the industry at-large.” 

The council members get first access to the Hypertruck ERX.

“With one of the largest dedicated fleets in the U.S., Anheuser-Busch is committed to leading the industry towards zero-emissions commercial transportation by improving the sustainability of our own logistics operations,” said Angie Slaughter, Anheuser-Busch vice president of sustainability and logistics procurement.

When fueled with renewable natural gas  (RNG), the Hypertruck ERX can provide net-negative carbon emissions to commercial fleets. Unlike natural gas, which is a fossil fuel, RNG comes from agricultural and dairy waste.

Hyliion picks Peterbilt as test chassis for Hypertruck ERX

Agility preorders 1,000 Hyliion hybrid-electric trucks

Kenworth delivers first — and last — natural gas electric hybrid trucks

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.