TMC20: Penske buys three Class 8 electric hybrids from Hyliion

Hyliion Hybrid Truck

With most of the attention in green trucking going to fully electric powertrains, diesel-electric hybrids don’t get much notice. 

Here’s an exception – Hyliion Inc., a leader in upfitting Class 8 trucks to run on dual fuel sources, will provide three of its 6X4HE heavy-duty models to Penske Truck Leasing. 

Hyliion and its electrification partner, Dana Inc. (NYSE: DAN) showed the first of the trucks Monday at the 2020 American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition in Atlanta.

Penske’s portfolio

Penske Truck Leasing has a diverse portfolio of electrified trucks. It is using 20 fully electric trucks from  Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet split between heavy-duty eCascadias and medium-duty eM2s for deliveries in Southern California.

Penske also ordered four eCanter medium-duty battery-electric work trucks from Mitsubishi Fuso, a sister organization of DTNA. And it has ordered a fully electric yard tractor from Kalmar Ottawa.

“Penske is committed to advancing and testing innovative technologies that are shaping the future of electric mobility in commercial transportation,” said Paul Rosa, senior vice president of procurement and fleet planning at Penske Truck Leasing.

Hybrid approach

The weight of battery packs to provide sufficient power to electric trucks and the need to stop for recharging are oft-cited drawbacks of using battery-power for long-distance hauling. A hybrid truck running on diesel fuel and electricity does not have to be plugged in for recharging.

Using Dana’s Spicer Electrified components, including a rear electronic axle, Hyliion gets propulsion and regenerative braking energy to move 80,000-pound rigs along their long-haul routes.

“We think it’s the right answer for long-haul trucking,” Dana director of Global Product Planning Steve Slesinski told FreightWaves. “Instead of hauling around 10,000 or 15,000 pounds of batteries, the hybrid system we have will eliminate the need for charging or changing the infrastructure to support that technology.”

Medium-duty bets

Dana has bets across the electrification spectrum. It recently won a $200 million contract to supply fully electric Class 6-7 medium-duty trucks for PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR) siblings Peterbilt Motors and Kenworth Truck Co. 

Dana’s Spicer Electrified eS9000r e-Axle for Class 4 and 5 commercial fleet applications will be available in the third quarter. The e-axle includes gearbox, axle, motor and inverter. It can be dropped into most existing chassis, reducing driveline complexity. Batteries can be located between the frame rails to simplify truck body positioning.

“As far as full electrified chassis, the drayage and the yard tractor applications are going to be prime as well as the medium-duty applications,” Slesinski said. “What we’ve found is you can actually justify that technology based on cost alone without any kind of incentives.”