Innovation Transportation

Hyliion Develops Regenerative Braking Technology for the Tractor-Trailer Industry, Reducing Fuel Consumption by 30%

hybrid truck
Photo Credit: Hyliion

A rapidly growing Pittsburgh startup has developed a way to harness the energy produced by large trucks as they brake by reusing that energy to help power the trucks as they travel uphill, reducing fuel consumption by an average of 30 percent.

Launched in 2015 by mechanical engineer and motorsports racer, Thomas Healy, the Hyliion System evolved out of a passion for horsepower and the desire to bring the advantages of hybrid technology to tractor trailers. Healy’s mission was to minimize fuel costs for long-haul, over-the-road delivery fleets by bringing electric technology to tractor trailers in an add-on solution.

The Hyliion System uses hybrid technology and aerodynamics to produce 30 percent fuel savings through the use of regenerative braking.  When installed on a truck trailer, Hyliion’s intelligent electric drive axle enables the use of regenerative braking to capture power when the vehicle is slowing down, and reuse it upon acceleration.  Installation takes only 60 minutes, and energy savings are immediate.

The Hyliion System can provide additional energy savings when used as an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to power the truck cab while the driver is at a rest stop. Because the diesel engine does not have to run during the night, additional fuel is saved. The Hyliion System can power a truck cab for 20 hours, easily out performing an industry standard, idle-free all-electric APU.

Industry statistics estimate that individual tractor trailers idle for 2,500 hours at rest stops annually — or a little over eight hours a day, 300 days a year. This idling burns about 1.2 gallons of fuel every hour, resulting in 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel (or 13.5 percent of fuel consumed) being wasted at rest stops each year.

Hyliion’s patent-pending technology has won accolades from the U.S. Department of Energy (Clean Energy Business Competition), Wells Fargo (Innovation Incubator), Rice University (Business Plan Competition, and Shell Technology Ventures, among others.


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Natalie Stewart