Canada’s first natural gas-electric hybrid to be demonstrated

AYR, Ont. –
Hiller Truck Tech has taken delivery of the first natural gas-electric hybrid
Class 8 tractor, which it plans to demonstrate June 18-19.

The 2015
Freightliner Cascadia has a 12L Cummins natural gas engine, coupled with a
retrofit Hyliion electric axle. The combination, according to Hiller Truck Tech
owner Dave Hiller, overcomes the weight restrictions that have thus far limited
adoption of the Cummins ISX 12G natural gas engine in Canada.

Immediately
upon taking delivery of the tractor, Hiller said it was put to the test
grossing 124,000 lbs pulling a load of corn. He’s confident the combination
will be a good fit for fleets wanting a low-GHG engine capable of pulling
heavier payloads.

Some big-name
fleets, including Groupe Robert, C.A.T., Loblaw, Challenger, The Beer Store, municipalities
and others are expected to attend the two-day demonstration, Hiller said. Afterwards,
Hiller Truck Tech will rent out the truck so that fleets can test it in their
own operating environments.

(Photo: Hiller Truck Tech)

Hiller is
located at the Flying J Truck Stop in Ayr, Ont., at Exit 268 off the 401.
Keeping all Covid-related precautions in mind, visitors will have the
opportunity to take the truck for a test drive and to learn more about the
technology. The demos will run from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. both days.

The Hyliion
axle can be factory-installed or retrofit, with some additional wiring and
electronics work required at a plant in Austin, Texas. Dana is part-owner of the
e-axle company. The first batch of natural gas-electric hybrids were delivered
to a grocery delivery company in New York, Hiller said, adding the company has
placed a second order for more units.

The ISX 12G
produces just 400 hp, but propulsion assistance provided by the Hyliion e-axle
makes it compatible for heavier payloads required in Canada. But Cummins has
thus far refused to budge on increasing warranty coverage for gross weights in
excess of 80,000 lbs. Hiller said talks are in progress to discuss this issue.

“We are
talking to them now, saying this is an electric assist system. There’s also some
aftermarket warranty we can purchase,” Hiller said. “This is all new to Cummins,
and they are still stating ‘No, this is supposed to be an 80,000-lb truck
(engine).’”

Hiller is optimistic
the combination could be a good alternative for fleets, such as Robert, which were
reliant on the now-discontinued 15L Westport LNG engines. Hiller acknowledged
there will be a 10-20% fuel economy penalty compared to diesel, but added
natural gas is less expensive, helping to offset higher operating costs. There
is also a growing network of renewable natural gas supply stations available to
help fleets significantly lower their GHG emissions.

Published at Wed, 17 Jun 2020 15:29:39 +0000


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