Volvo, Kenworth and Hyliion spark transition to electric trucks

Volvo electric trucks

Volvo, Kenworth and Hyliion each charged battery-powered electric trucking in different ways this week

DHE gets two Class 8 Volvo Electric VNR day cabs for testing

Dependable Highway Express (DHE) took delivery of two Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 day cabs as part of the Sweden-based truck maker’s Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS)  project. 

DHE is a core division of full-service logistics provider Dependable Supply Chain Services. It will use the zero-emissions trucks on daily routes of 60-80 miles moving goods from Ontario, California, to warehouses throughout the southern part of the state. DHE operates more than 500 Volvo trucks in its nationwide fleet.

“The Volvo VNR Electric truck cabin is nearly identical to its diesel counterpart, but with a whisper-quiet engine, a super smooth ride and zero emissions,” said Joe Finney, DHE chief operating officer. 

The first of Volvo’s 23 pilot electric trucks entered service in June at the Volvo Trucks North America TEC Equipment dealership in Fontana, California. The truck transports local parts between TEC dealerships in Fontana and La Mirada. TEC will handle maintenance for the two electric VNRs assigned to DHE.

The VNR Electric is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB). That means it can be sold in all 50 states.  

Volvo LIGHTS is a collaboration with the South Coast Air Quality Management District and 13 other organizations. The goal is to develop a blueprint for successful scaling of  battery-electric trucks and equipment. Volvo plans to begin offering VNR Electric leases in Southern California through TEC Equipment in 2021.   

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is testing 30 Class 8 Freightliner eCascadia and Class 6 eM2 trucks with NFI Industries and Penske Truck Leasing. Short-term loans of an eight-truck customer experience fleet also are underway.

Kenworth dealers begin taking electric truck orders

Kenworth dealers are now taking orders for the PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR) division’s K270E Class 6 and K370E Class 7 battery-electric trucks in the U.S. and Canada.

High-density battery packs of 141kWh and 282kWh deliver up to 100- and 200-mile driving range, respectively. Two direct-drive motors rated at 355 and 469 horsepower are available. Wheelbases include 206 inches (24-foot box bodies), 218 inches (26-foot box bodies) and 274 inches (30-foot box bodies).

The trucks provide enough torque to start the load from a stop on a 20% grade and the power to maintain 40 mph on a 6% grade while fully loaded. Regenerative braking in stop-and-go city conditions recharges the batteries and extends brake life.

The cabover design uses a direct current (DC) fast-charging system capable of recharging the batteries up to 80% state of charge in as little as one hour. They also can be charged overnight on alternating current (AC).

Kenworth is collaborating with Dana Inc. (NYSE: DAN) on the trucks, integrating Dana’s electrified modules in-house.

Sister division Peterbilt Motors began taking orders for the Model 220EV on Aug. 18.

Startup Hyliion’s ‘SPACtacular’ debut nears

Holders of shares in Tortoise Acquisition Corp. will vote Sept. 28 on whether the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) should complete a reverse merger that would make Hyliion Inc. a public company.

The vote, which is expected to easily pass, is a final stop before Tortoise shares (NYSE: SHLL) become shares in Hyliion and trade under the ticker HYLN.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cleared the way for the vote after receiving responses to questions from Tortoise.

Assuming the vote is yes, Hyliion will get $560 million in cash — $235 million raised in Tortoise’s initial public offering and $325 million Tortoise raised by selling discounted shares with warrants to buy new shares in Hyliion. That sale is called a private investment in public equity (PIPE).

Hyliion, which makes a diesel-powered generator that powers a battery, said the $560 million is sufficient to pay for its business plan. The plan includes the ERX Hypertruck, which will use renewable natural gas (RNG) to make electricity.

Related articles:

Volvo takes holistic approach to heavy-duty truck electrification

Kenworth collaborates with Dana on medium-duty electric truck

Hyliion takes reverse merger path to public trading

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.