Truck Tech: Hypertruck first drive version

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The story of Hyliion’s extended-range Class 8 truck is extra advanced than simply battery-electric energy. We took the primary media experience and drive in Austin, Texas, this week. One other makeover of a trailer maker as Nice Dane freshens up its model. And the most effective of the remainder.

Trying out Hyliion’s Hypertruck

Hyliion Holdings hosted me for a fast go to to its Austin, Texas, headquarters for a experience and drive of its Hypertruck ERX. The Peterbilt Mannequin 579-based pure fuel and battery-powered hybrid Class 8 truck is looking for a spot within the transformation from diesel to electrical vehicles.

If first impressions rely, the ERX has a very good probability.

The ERX addresses the 2 phrases — vary nervousness — that trigger angst amongst would-be electrical car adopters. It’s not a problem for the ERX, as a result of the launch mannequin in 2023 shall be able to 75 miles of pure electrical driving with a tank of pure fuel as each juice to energy an underhood generator and for freeway driving.

As a serial hybrid, the ERX makes use of a pure gas-powered generator that creates electrical energy for the 4 side-mounted battery packs. The batteries are smaller than these utilized in a pure battery-electric truck as a result of they’re solely supposed to be used in city areas the place CO2 emissions are a giant drawback. 

The remainder of the time the truck runs on pure fuel, ideally renewable pure fuel created from farm waste and different nonpetroleum sources able to unfavorable net-zero carbon emissions. The ERX can journey up  to 1,000 miles between fill-ups. The generator, fueled by both pure fuel or RNG, converts sufficient vitality to maintain the batteries at a constant however reasonable state of cost whereas the truck does its long-haul enterprise. 

Early BETs attracting single- and low double-digit orders are parallel hybrids that couple the engine and the electrical motor to the wheels to maneuver the car. Freightliner, Volvo, Kenworth, BYD and, sure, the Peterbilt 579 are parallel hybrids. All of them max on driving vary out someplace round 200 miles or much less earlier than needing to be plugged in.  

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The ERX has two absolutely electrical Meritor 14Xe axles pushed off an electrical motor on the rear of the truck with an electrical motor powered by 4 side-mounted battery packs, much like pure BETs. However the generator, which may ultimately use any variety of fuels, avoids the necessity for a grid-tapping energy plug.  

Walkaround of the Hyliion Hypertruck ERX with CEO Thomas Healy at firm headquarters in Austin. (Picture courtesy of Hyliion)

Trip and drive

For my go to on Wednesday, Hyliion centered on exhibiting the 6X4-configured tractor working on saved electrical energy. Whisper-quiet operation, an indicator of electrical vehicles versus diesel engines, allowed regular dialog tones within the cab as we rode for a number of miles on Texas 183. Possibly as a result of I wasn’t paying consideration, I used to be unaware when the generator kicked on to recharge the batteries. 

Again within the late 2000s, I briefly supported the Chevrolet Volt hybrid electrical staff at Basic Motors. You at all times knew when the Volt’s generator kicked on. As hybrid passenger automobiles at the moment present, seamless switchovers have come a good distance in 15 years.

On a display screen above the driving force, the ERX shows how a lot horsepower the system is producing, whether or not the generator is working and the batteries’ state of cost. It could actually set the system to activate the generator when the SOC falls under a selected level. On our drive, it kicked in at 49% and shut off at 65%. 

The ERX was as clean as any battery-powered truck I’ve skilled. Acceleration was  spectacular, particularly going up an on-ramp to the 183 and merging into visitors. The giddyup was noticeable with no trailer hooked up — not precisely Tesla Ludicrous mode however loads of energy. 

As a generator gasoline, pure fuel does wonderful. As a gasoline itself, it boasts a lot decrease emissions than diesel however much less combustive energy, which suggests much less torque. 

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Behind the wheel within the parking zone surrounding Hyliion’s two buildings, I discovered working the large rig as easy as driving my Nissan Kicks rental automotive. Due to regenerative braking that returns vitality again to the batteries, I solely tapped the brakes throughout vast turns.

Take a look at driving Hyliion’s Hypertruck ERX in Austin. 

Rebranding a basic

First it was Wabash Nationwide — oops, simply Wabash now — that determined a makeover was wanted to higher mirror its first-to-last-mile trailer and physique constructing enterprise. Now Nice Dane, the Savannah, Georgia-based 120-year-old trailer maker, has determined a refresh is so as.

The model evolution, a yr within the making, represents Nice Dane’s deal with “end-to-end options for the transportation trade” with digital connectivity part of the system, the corporate mentioned in a press launch. 

The long run is about trailer and truck physique improvements, telematics and enhanced aftermarket providers. Emblems on the again of Nice Dane trailers and truck our bodies should not altering, however the remainder of the model identification will get a refresh.

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In a get-acquainted go to to headquarters final Could, Chris Hammond, the chief vice chairman of gross sales whose household has lengthy ties to the corporate, confirmed me the unique workup of the corporate emblem.

 Chris Hammond with the unique artwork for Nice Dane. (Picture: Alan Adler/FreightWaves)

Better of the remainder

Apart from saying buyer response is “overwhelmingly constructive” to its MD Sequence medium-duty vehicles, Mack Vans hasn’t talked numbers. This week, the corporate mentioned it hit the 5,000 car manufacturing milestone at a former comedian guide publishing plant that now makes up its Roanoke Valley Operations in Virginia. Manufacturing started in September 2020.

No phrase on when or whether or not the MD will get an electrical model, which is an more and more in style possibility for medium-duty vehicles that function on the identical routes and return to base at night time, the place they are often charged when electrical energy is cheaper. 

Mack is constructing its LR Electrical refuse hauler in Pennsylvania and lately bought one to Boulder, Colorado-based Eco-Cycle, one of many largest nonprofit recyclers and zero-waste organizations within the U.S. It’s Eco-Cycle’s first battery-electric car.

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Rival Navistar has mentioned the primary car off the road subsequent month at its new meeting plant in San Antonio shall be its battery-powered Class 6 MV electrical mannequin at the moment inbuilt Escobedo, Mexico.


On the electrical scene, Mack’s Volvo Group sibling Volvo Vans claims 2021 market management for heavy all-electric vehicles in Europe with a 42% share. 

In accordance with a Volvo press launch, IHS Markit knowledge exhibits that in 2021 a complete of 346 electrical vehicles higher than 25,000 kilos have been registered in Europe — a rise of 193% from 2020. 

Between orders and letters of intent, Volvo has bookings for greater than 1,100 electrical vehicles worldwide.


Readers of Truck Tech know that the California Air Assets Board has boosted the amount of cash obtainable to assist fleets cowl the upfront value of electrical vehicles, just like the Kenworth T680E, via the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Challenge (HVIP). 

The highest voucher quantity is $120,000 for a Class 8 tractor. However the nonprofit Calstart, which administers this system for CARB, is providing as much as a $150,000 spiff if that truck is utilized in drayage operations. This system additionally affords a 15% bonus voucher if the qualifying car is domiciled in a deprived group.

Clearing the air across the neighborhoods close to California’s ports brings the most important carrots and was the main focus of earlier grant packages to jump-start the transition to electrical vehicles. 


That’s it for this week. Thanks for studying. Click on right here to subscribe and have Truck Tech delivered by way of e mail on Fridays.

Alan