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Hyliion CEO Talks Advantages To Tesla, Electrifying Existing Diesel Trucks

Hyliion CEO Talks Advantages To Tesla, Electrifying Existing Diesel Trucks

Thomas Healy, founder and CEO of Hyliion, joined Benzinga’s PreMarket Prep on Wednesday to discuss the company going public, how Hyliion’s business is different from Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA) and why Hyliion focuses on natural gas as its preferred energy source.

Hyliion produces electric trucks and electric powertrain add-ons to modify existing trucks. The company generates its electricity via natural gas.

Differentiated Business Model: Healy said Hyliion is taking a more cost-efficient, environmentally friendly approach compared to Tesla and other competitors.

“The difference is how do we generate the electricity to actually drive the vehicles? So with Tesla, they’re using the grid to recharge their truck. With Nikola, they’re using a hydrogen fuel cell solution. With our truck, what we’re doing is we’re actually leveraging natural gas and using that to produce electricity locally on the truck to actually charge the batteries up,” Healy said.

Hyliion chose the natural gas route after considering the cost of ownership of the vehicles, the emissions levels and how much infrastructure is already available for recharging batteries.

“With renewable natural gas, you can have a net carbon-negative emissions profile,” Healy said.

Watch to the full interview with Hyliion Founder and CEO Thomas Healy in the clip below:

Solving The Power Problem: Hyliion is also focusing on producing add-ons that will allow existing truck fleets to update to a greener model without having to start from scratch with new trucks.

“The area for evolution in the trucking industry right now is really in the powertrain. We need to bring electric technology forward, and we figured the trucks that the OEMs already make today are great,” Healy said.

Healy said one of the reasons why natural gas trucks haven’t caught on is because they have historically been underpowered relative to diesel trucks. However, natural gas is extremely inexpensive compared to diesel and there are already more than 700 natural gas fueling stations throughout the country.

“Let’s take all of those benefits but overcome that underpowered and underperforming vehicle by using an electric powertrain, which has way more horsepower and torque than even a conventional diesel truck does,” Healy said.

The SPAC Approach: Hyliion announced on June 19 it's going public via merger with special acquisition company Tortoise Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: SHLL).

“The SPAC path had a lot of benefits. It was a faster process. We met with the Tortoise team just prior to the COVID lockdown, and there’s a lot of synergies there,” Healy said. “With the capital we’re bringing in, it puts us in a position where we don’t have to go out and raise additional cash in order to fulfill this business model.”

The merger deal is expected to close in the third quarter, and Hyliion plans to trade on the NYSE under the ticker HYLN.

PreMarket Prep is a daily trading show hosted by prop trader Dennis Dick and former floor trader Joel Elconin. You can watch PreMarket Prep live every day from 8-9 a.m. ET Benzinga's YouTube channel, and the podcast is on SpotifyiTunesGoogle PlaySoundcloudStitcher and Tunein.


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