- Hyliion and Dana have teamed up to demonstrate Hyliion's hybrid diesel powertrain to Idealease customers through the end of the year, according to a joint news release. Idealease will allow short-term rentals of the truck fitted with the green technology.
- For the truck, Idealease will use an International LT Series chassis and Dana's S23-175 drive axle and driveline. It will also include a Hyliion in-cab auxiliary power unit, which eliminates vehicle idling when picking up and delivering loads. The hybrid diesel system can be installed on most major Class 8 commercial vehicles, according to Hyliion, meaning it is "brand agnostic."
- The Idealease tour will begin in Georgia, head north through the Appalachian region and then finish in the Pacific Northwest, according to Dana and Hyliion officials.
For Hyliion, the Idealease one-truck demo is another way to showcase its diesel hybrid technology, a "third way" between battery-electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles. The stakes are increasing, as states make efforts to curb Class 8 emissions and follow California's lead.
As a result, investments are increasing. In June, Hyliion said it would become a publicly traded company by merging with Tortoise Acquisition, a firm focused on green commercial transportation. The merger was done in reverse, a trend in the green trucking industry not unlike Nikola's reverse merger with VectoIQ in March.
Hyliion, though, decided not to swear off conventional fuels entirely. In addition to the hybrid system, the company also makes the Hyliion Hypertruck ERX, which uses renewable natural gas, to create enough electricity to drive the rig. Like the hybrid system, the ERX can be fitted on most Class 8 brands.
"It's like an electric truck but the only difference is opposed to plugging it into the grid to get recharged, you are filling it up with natural gas and bringing the fuel with you," CEO Thomas Healy said in June.
"We can produce electricity for about 30% less than you can buy electricity off the grid," said Healy. "When you get to those sort of economics, it starts to beg the question, well, why would you ever go with a full electric truck when you can just make the electricity on the truck for less?"
Hyliion and Dana's strategy is to showcase the hybrid technology using a one-truck demo, to gain traction with fleets. Fleets are very much a "show me" type of industry before large-scale investments are made, according to Hyliion.
The hybrid system can produce savings between 5% to 10%, and consistently produce savings closer to 10% if the APU is used regularly, according to Hyliion. Hyliion has shipped about 20 units for such fittings.
Dana and Hyliion entered into a partnership in March 2019, with Dana taking a lead investment stake in the company.