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Electric vehicle companies are enjoying an incredible moment in 2020, spearheaded by Tesla (TSLA), which saw shares surge 600% from their March lows, and Chinese rival Nio (NIO), also enjoying a similar 700% pop.
Investors also battled over shares in electric truck maker Nikola (NKLA) earlier this year, which debuted via a special purpose acquisition company (or SPAC) in June as shares spiked about 110% in the week following its debut.
Now, yet another Tesla rival is looking to make its public debut — this time in the form of Austin, Texas-based electric trucking company Hyliion. The company announced in June it would be following Nikola’s lead by going public via a reverse merger with Tortoise Acquisition Corp. (SHLL) to trade on the New York Stock Exchange in a deal the company said would net $560 million in proceeds. But rather than start by only manufacturing electric trucks from the ground up, Hyliion is taking a different approach by offering to retrofit existing trucks with its electric drivetrain.
“What we’re doing is actually focusing on the drivetrain of the vehicle as opposed to re-inventing the entire vehicle from the ground up,” Hyliion CEO Thomas Healy tells Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM. “The benefit of this is it’s a lot quicker of a development.”
As the company approaches its debut that’s planned to take place by the end of the third quarter, shares in Tortoise Acquisition continue to rise — up more than 300% since the merger was announced, including a 25% spike following Healy’s Tuesday appearance on Yahoo Finance.
Aside from its electric “e-axle” drivetrain for existing semi-trucks, Hyliion is also planning to ramp up production of a second offering dubbed the Hypertruck ERX that uses an electric drivetrain and is capable of achieving a net carbon negative emissions footprint by using renewable natural gas. The company says the natural gas-powered onboard generator to recharge the battery allows for more than 1,000 miles of range and will allow truckers to fill up on much more available natural gas filling stations.
“On that vehicle we actually use an onboard natural gas generator that can kick on and charge the batteries up as you’re driving so you don’t have to plug it into the grid in order to recharge the battery,” Healy said.
The company previously announced a 1,000 pre-order for its Hypertrucks from Kuwait-based logistics company Agility. Deliveries of its Hypertruck are planned for 2021 before volume production in 2022. The company says it’s already shipping its hybrid e-axle system before ramping production next year.