Hyliion, Cummins Collaborate on Hypertruck ERX

Hypertruck ERX
Hypertruck ERX by Hyliion

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Hyliion Inc. announced it is collaborating with Cummins Inc. to bring Hyliion’s natural gas extended range powertrain to North American trucking on schedule.

Hyliion, which was founded in 2015 and went public in 2020, reported a Cummins natural gas engine will be “the generator” for the Hypertruck ERX powertrain.

On the Hypertruck ERX, a tank of renewable natural gas fuels a generator that charges the batteries that power an e-motor that drives the rear axles and provides regenerative braking. A range of 1,000 miles is expected, and there is the opportunity to run 75 miles on battery power alone.

“Natural gas solutions are an integral part of our journey toward zero emissions,” J. Michael Taylor, general manager of global powertrain integration at Cummins, said in a release. “Integrating our engine with the Hyliion Hypertruck ERX solution is key to offering our customers a portfolio of powertrains across many fuel options to meet their sustainability goals.”

Hyliion founder and CEO Thomas Healy told Transport Topics that some speculated previously that a Cummins engine already had been doing just that with the prototype ERXs, which was indeed the case.

“But we had not officially formalized anything with Cummins up until today,” Healy said. “Now it’s Hyliion and Cummins working with CARB [California Air Resources Board] to have the ERX qualify for zero-emissions credits and EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] certifications.”

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Those are the crucial approvals needed to get the powertrain on the market.

Healy said he has heard from other suppliers and fleets telling him it’s great to see Cummins supporting Hyliion. “Overall, it will be a very positive thing for Hyliion and a very positive thing for how we are viewed in this industry.”

He said the Hypertruck ERX would go into controlled fleet trials this year, and after regulatory approvals would start production in late 2023.

That schedule remains on track despite a supply chain that is still a mess. “Everyone is quoting ridiculously long lead times and everyone is jacking up their prices. That’s the world we are living in right now.”

Hyliion is riding out the conditions with $527 million on its balance sheet, as of the end of the first quarter, the company reported.

Its stock on the morning of June 29, the day after the interview, was trading at $3.73 per share.

Forbes had said Healy stood to become America’s youngest self-made billionaire after Hyliion completed its business combination with Tortoise Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company — that cleared the way for the combined company to be renamed Hyliion Holdings Corp. and its common stock to be listed as HYLN on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 2, 2020 — where it opened in the $40 range.

“If we were in a position where we had to go out and raise capital right now I’d say the stock price would be extremely, extremely important. Fortunately, that is not the situation Hyliion is in. We are not satisfied with where the share price is by any means, but it is not having a dramatic impact on the business. We don’t need to raise capital.”

He said going public is an involved process, as other former startups making the transition are no doubt finding out, too.

“It takes a lot to bring a company public. We have been able to do that. We have been on top of all our SEC [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] filings, and not have foot faults on that end, which is really good,” he said.

His biggest surprise in bringing his company to this point is the difference finding the right people makes.

“On a high level, what’s been most eye-opening since starting the company is if you find the right people to surround yourself with in the organization who have domain expertise and you hand the baton to them and let them run with it, they can accomplish some amazing, amazing things.

“When you are starting a company maybe you don’t realize that or appreciate that as much,” Healy said. “We have been able to do a good job of that, and it has totally accelerated what we’ve been doing and it’s fun to see.”

Meanwhile, NFI became Hyliion’s latest customer, placing an order for 10 units backed by deposits to secure Hypertruck ERX production slots.

NFI ranks No. 16 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

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