Cedar Park Company Spotlight – Hyliion
Cedar Park, Texas is no stranger to technology and innovation. The North Austin region houses some of the world’s leading tech companies that are making strides in a variety of respective fields, including the likes of Dell and Apple. In addition to these household names, Hyliion is one of the greater Austin-area forerunners in cutting edge business development. It provides Class 8 trucks with hybrid diesel and fully electric drivetrain architecture. According to FleetOwner.com, this electronically operated transportation company is projected to go head-to-head with Tesla and Nikola in the near future.
The Cedar Park-based startup recently made headlines this summer after merging with Tortoise Acquisition Corp. This move made Hyliion a publicly traded company and awarded the founder and CEO, 28-year-old Thomas Healy, the title of youngest self-made billionaire in history. Now, with the merger of Hyliion and Tortoise Acquisition Corp., Healy’s vision for electrified heavy-duty trucks is more attainable than ever before. This merge brought an additional $560 million in funding to the company previously valued at about $1.1 billion, which opened the door for expanded capabilities and opportunities.
Why Cedar Park?
Hyliion was founded in Pennsylvania in 2015. The company’s website notes that the company itself was created with three main goals in mind:
- To deliver hybrid and electrical advantages to commercial fleets
- To accelerate innovation and reduce costs in commercial transportation
- Be a technology leader in the global fight against climate change by delivering solutions that reduce or negate carbon emission.
The electric powertrain leader moved its headquarters to Cedar Park in 2018 after then City Council approved a $1.27 million incentive agreement. At the time, Hyliion had plans to create more than 200 new jobs by the end of 2022. The company plans to add positions in engineering, sales and marketing. Two years after this successful relocation, Hyliion has staffed nearly 70 new employees as of October and, according to the Austin American-Statesman, is aiming to have 100 by the end of 2020, putting the company well on its way to carving out an additional +100 jobs within the next two years.
In an October Yahoo! Finance article, CEO Thomas Healy said the merge is a crucial milestone to the company’s business plan. The combination of Hyliion and Tortoise Acquisition Corp. allows the powertrain developer to focus on one of their original goals, fighting climate change. Most of Tortoise’s capital investment will go towards Hyliion using its 80-thousand square-foot plant for development and mass production of its Electric Range Extender (ERX) Hypertruck powertrain solutions.
The ERX, set for production in 2022, will employ a compressed natural gas (CNG)/renewable CNG generator. Using CNG instead of diesel reduces emissions by approximately 25 percent. This technology could challenge Tesla and Nikola for “clean” Class 8 supremacy in the near future.
FORBES recently stated Tesla and Nikola are taking a battery-centric approach and using hydrogen fuel cells to power their rigs, a design that could lead to hours of battery charge time.
Hyliion’s solutions can take advantage of existing filling stations and their powertrain can be installed into already manufactured Class 8 trucks. The ERX gives Hyliion a one-up and allows truck makers to continue offering models their customers are already familiar with, but now include upgraded powertrains.
There are already trucks that run on compressed natural gas; however, those rigs are for lighter loads, and underpowered relative to Class 8 long-haul semi-trailers. Hyliion’s powertrain offers more horsepower and torque and promises acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in 20 seconds, while hauling 80,000 lbs.
Race to Number One
As the Hyliion headquarters continues to grow in Cedar Park, Tesla recently began production of their facility in Travis County. While the two offer similar products, Healy feels Hyliion is building technology that is available today and addresses the immediate needs of today’s trucking fleets. “Hyliion’s solutions were specifically developed to utilize existing infrastructure in an effort to support rapid technology deployment,” he said.
With Hyliion’s headquarters in Cedar Park, one of the one the fastest growing cities in America, the company has access to a skilled workforce. As previously reported, 48 percent of Cedar Park’s population has an associate degree or higher and 57 percent has some level of college education, making the city a top choice for businesses, employers and job seekers alike. With resources like these, Hyliion can create the team needed to take their company to the top.