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Hyliion partners with Idealease to spotlight Class 8 hybrid trucks

With public debut near, startup seeks orders for its diesel-electric hybrid powertrain

Hyliion is working with Idealease to expose fleets to its diesel-electric powertrain, hoping to win orders along the way. (Photo: Hyliion)

Hyliion Inc. is partnering with Idealease to get exposure — and orders — for its near-zero-emission diesel-electric hybrid powertrain system as the company’s public debut nears.

The startup will offer short-term rentals of its hybrid diesel powertrain with supplier Dana Inc. (NYSE: DAN) at some of Idealease’s 430 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

Hyliion will use one truck for the demo program, moving from the eastern U.S. north to the Appalachian region and to the northwest U.S. based on key customers identified by Idealease, a Hyliion spokesperson said.

Critical technology introduction

Hyliion’s Hybrid Diesel system can be retrofitted on most major Class 8 commercial vehicles. It reduces fuel use, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, improves performance and reduces total cost of operation, according to the company.

The hybrid system is installed on an International LT Series chassis from Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV). It uses Dana’s latest lightweight, fuel-efficient S23-175 drive axle and SPL driveline. An in-cab auxiliary power unit (APU) saves fuel by eliminating idling during pickups and deliveries.

“Working with industry leaders like Idealease and Dana is critical to introducing our technology to fleets throughout the country,” said Thomas Healy, Hyliion founder and CEO. “The commercial transportation industry has reached a pivotal point where environmental impact is paramount to business success.”

The California mandate

Much of that urgency stems from California where the state will require 9% of all new commercial trucks to be electrified by 2024. How Hyliion’s hybrid-electric figures into the state’s Advanced Clean Truck rule is unclear. 

“Our hybrid system has the potential to transform diesel fleets, offering an immediate, sustainable impact on a company’s carbon footprint while delivering a positive return for their business,” Healy said.

All major truck manufacturers are testing zero-tailpipe-emission battery-electric trucks in California. PACCAR brand Peterbilt Motors said Tuesday it would take orders and deliver its medium-duty Model 220EV late this year.

Dana is the electric systems supplier and also is working with sister brand Kenworth Trucks on its Class 6K270E and Class 7 K370E medium-duty models.

Public debut coming soon

Healy founded Hyliion in 2015. It burst onto the scene in June when it announced a reverse merger with Tortoise Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: SHLL). 

The shortened path to public trading should end in mid-September. Hyliion will get $560 million from Tortoise when the merger closes. 

Tortoise Acquisition raised $235 million in an initial public offering to become a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It raised an additional $325 million for Hyliion by allowing investors to purchase discount shares through a private investment in public equity (PIPE).

Hyliion raised $50 million on its own. It sold three of the diesel-electric hybrids to Penske Truck Leasing in February. Hyliion, which has delivered 20 diesel-electric hybrid systems, revealed a natural gas-electric Hypertruck Electric Range Extender (ERX) system on June 25 with a 1,000-unit preorder from logistics giant Agility.

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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.