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Electric Drive Axle Wins Technical Achievement Award

From left, Chris Langley, VP of Fleet Relations, Hyliion; Jim Park, award committee chair; and Thomas Healy, founder and CEO, Hyliion.

November 28, 2018 - A powered auxiliary axle for road tractors won the 2018 Jim Winsor Memorial Technical Achievement Award, voted on by truck writers.

The fuel-saving electric drive axle, called the 6x4HE is made by Hyliion, a recent start-up company.

When added to a truck or tractor, the electric axle acts as a hybrid system. It captures braking energy and converts it to electricity, then uses that energy to help launch the vehicle and propel it up hills, explained Thomas Healy, founder and CEO of Hyliion. That relieves the engine of some of its usual work and thus saves fuel. It also reduces wear on service brakes.

The 6x4HE consists of an axle, a motor-generator, a lithium-ion battery pack, and electronic controls. It can replace the second axle in a “live” tandem or be added to a 6x2 tandem to effectively turn the truck into a 6x4.

Through advanced GPS and terrain maps, the system’s controllers can determine power or recharge settings to minimize fuel consumption or maximize charging opportunities while driving. Another Hyliion hybrid-electric axle product is made for trailers.

“With all the great innovations in trucking this year, we are honored to have been awarded the Jim Winsor Memorial Technical Achievement Award," said Healy. "Hyliion is focused on delivering products that are easy to adopt, deliver a significant profit improvement to the trucking industry, and improve the environment. The Hyliion 6X4HE is our first.”

The 6x4HE axle was selected from five finalists by a panel of truck writers.

Award committee chairman Jim Park, of Heavy Duty Trucking and Today’s Trucking, said the other four finalists were:

• Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies’ Endurant self-shifting transmission;

• Truck-lite Road Ready trailer monitoring and telematics system;

• Volvo’s LED headlamps, which feature a reverse-flow fan to defrost the lens in winter conditions; and

• XStream TruckWings auto-deploy trailer gap system.

"2017 was a banner year for innovation and imagination in new product development," Park said. "We began deliberations with 22 new products, the longest list in the history of the award. Through many hundreds of emails and dozens of phone calls we managed to get the list down to just five.

“This is an exciting time to be writing about trucks, trucking and trucking technology."

The award finalists were chosen by a group of 12 trade press editors, whose group was formerly the Truck Writers of North America's Technical Achievement Award committee. TWNA was officially disbanded in 2017, but its directors provided funding so the Technical Achievement Award can continue indefinitely.  

The writers renamed the award to honor Jim Winsor, whose journalism career spanned more than 50 years in service to the trucking industry. He worked his way through college by driving cargo trucks, and then served in the U.S. Army as a Transportation Corps lieutenant. He was active with the Truck Maintenance Committee, forerunner to today’s TMC -- both arms of the American Trucking Associations.

Winsor served on TMC’s board of directors and several working groups, and contributed to many recommended practices for effective maintenance. He organized and moderated numerous technical sessions for TMC meetings. Winsor was honored with TWNA's Lifetime Achievement Award and TMC's highest honor, the Silver Spark Plug.

In addition to Jim Park, the awards committee members are: Paul Abelson, Land Line; John Baxter, freelance technical writer; Tom Berg – Construction Equipment; Jason Cannon, Commercial Carrier Journal; Seth Clevenger, Transport Topics; James Menzies, Truck News & Truck West; Jason Morgan, Fleet Equipment; Jack Roberts, Heavy Duty Trucking; John G. Smith, Today’s Trucking; Suzanne Stempinski, Land Line; and Steve Sturgess, freelance writer.

The Technical Achievement Award was first presented in 1992 by TWNA. To be eligible, a product or service has to show technical innovation, have a wide applicability and availability in trucking, and offer significant benefits.

Past TWNA Technical Achievement Award winners:

2017 - Cummins X15 Efficiency Series diesel

2016 - Eaton Procision Dual-Clutch automatic transmission

2015 - Aperia Technologies' Halo Tire Inflator

2014 - Mack Twin-Y suspension

2013 - Meritor FuelLite 6x2 tandem

2012 - Volvo XE powertrain

2011 - Bose Ride System

2010 - ArvinMeritor PlatinumShield brake shoes

2009 - Detroit Diesel DD15 engine with turbo compounding

2008 - Michelin Durable Technologies tire

2007 - Cummins Filtration Fleetguard User Friendly filters

2006 - Carrier Transicold Deltek Hybrid Reefer

2005 - ConMet TruTurn brake drum

2004 - Meritor-Wabco anti-rollover system

2003 - Bendix XVision night vision system

2002 - XM Satellite Radio

2001 - ZF Meritor Freedom Line two-pedal automated transmission

2000 - Donaldson Silent Partner muffler

1998 - Cummins Signature 600 diesel

1998 - Eaton Fuller AutoShift transmission

1997 - Rockwell Automotive ESS (Engine Synchro Shift) transmission

1996 - Navistar International 9800 flat-floor cabover

1995 - Caterpillar and Navistar HEUI (hydraulically activated, electronically controlled unit injectors)

1994 - Goodyear G300 tire

1993 - Cummins ESP variable torque engine line

1992 - Grote Industries LED marker lamp


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