“Batteries are a critical component of any hybrid vehicle. The acquisition provides us with control over the complete battery management supply chain from manufacturing and packaging to software development,” said Thomas Healy, founder and CEO of Hyliion.
Hyliion has been working closely with Gentherm for several years, with the battery system a key component of the 6x4HE solution. The diesel-electric hybrid system captures wasted energy when traveling downhill, and applies that power when traveling uphill.
Hyliion said the system, which can be retrofitted onto any Class 8 vehicle, can provide fuel savings of up to 30%.
Since March, Hyliion has been offering free one-week trial trucks for fleets to test out the system. Healy called the program “extremely successful,” with more than 100 companies signing up thus far.
The trial is a way to give a “fleet the opportunity to experience the technology first-hand before diving in and placing purchasing orders,” Healy explained.
Healy said he is a “huge believer” of all-electric trucks, especially for local deliveries within about a 200-mile range.
However, charging infrastructure “is a long way away” that would allow for regular use of longhaul all-electric trucks. In addition, the cost of a battery pack and the software behind it will remain the “biggest question marks” for many years to come.
“Unless we regrid the entire country to accommodate power consumption with grids as large as entire cities, a hybrid solution is the only answer that makes sense for long hauls,” said Healy.
Hyliion is based in Austin, TX, and through this acquisition will operate a battery technology center and assembly line in Irvine, CA.
Hyliion also announced it has partnered with Toshiba, which provides the battery cell technology, and is collaborating with Dana to improve the thermal management of the batteries.