Cummins opens window on electric heavy duty future

Big three propulsion source innovations in the mix at US technical headquarters event

Cummins opens window on electric heavy duty future
The Cummins electric Urban Hauler Tractor concept prime mover


Cummins unveiled it’s a range in engine initiatives indicating its path to the future which involves electric, gas and diesel technology options.

In a showing at its Columbus, Indiana, technical centre, Cummins displayed the latest in near-zero natural gas engine technology, super-efficient X12 and X15 diesel engines, and revealed plans to introduce a revolutionary heavy-duty diesel engine in 2022.

In a move that pre-empts next month's hotly anticipated Tesla Semi unveiling, Cummins also took the covers off a fully electric Class 7 (11.8-14.9 tonne gross vehicle weight rating) demonstration prime mover, dubbed the Urban Hauler Tractor.

Armed with a 140 kW battery pack, the day-cab hauler that is also called the Aeos has a range of about 160km on a single charge for city driving that’s extendable to 480km with additional battery packs.

"These new technological innovations build on our 100-year legacy of bringing the best solutions to our customers, driving their success and meeting the evolving demands of their industries and markets,"  Cummins Inc chief technical officer Jennifer Rumsey says.

"We will harness our global technical footprint to continue to develop a wide variety of power technologies to bring our customers the choice and solutions that enable their success and contribute to a sustainable future."

During the event, which included tours of the Cummins technical centre, Cummins says its executives and scientists showcased the company’s continued innovation and work in analysis-led design capability, virtual reality, alternative fuels and digital capabilities, all of which are positioning the company to win in current and future technologies and in new markets.

"As a global power leader for the commercial and industrial customers we serve, with an unmatched service and support network, we are better positioned than any other company to win in new and emerging technologies and in new markets," Cummins president and COO Rich Freeland says.

"We will leverage our deep industry and customer knowledge and our scale advantage to win.

"Over the past century, our ability to innovate and adapt has fuelled our success and we are confident we are on the right path to do it again."

Some of the technologies the company highlights as being offered or developed are:

Clean diesel

Cummins says the next heavy-duty engine for 2022 affirms the company’s commitment to providing the most effective power solution for Class 8 linehaul trucks. And, with the recent formation of the Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies, customers can count on Cummins to provide market-leading innovation for integrated powertrain technologies.

Alternative fuels and power solutions

The company is developing a high-efficiency spark-ignited technology that can deliver diesel-like performance and durability across a range of liquid fuels, "meeting the most stringent emissions requirements. Cummins continues to investigate the viability of alternatives like bio-fuels, synthetic fuels and hydrogen. And, Cummins has also invested in exploratory projects focused on proton exchange membrane and solid oxide fuel cell technologies.

Natural gas

The company revealed its latest Near-Zero natural gas engines during the event. "End-users will find the Cummins Near-Zero natural gas engine is an equivalent performance option to diesel and like the latest clean-diesel have little to no emissions for customers looking to minimise emissions footprint," it says. Working toward a Class 8 (15 tonne plus) integration, these engines "offer adaptability with Agility’s Blue-IQ fuel delivery technology for full connectivity".

Electric powertrains

With the unveiling of the Urban Hauler EV, Cummins says it has introduced a state-of-the art battery pack offering, "redefining energy-efficiency and density capabilities for the EV market". The lighter, denser battery design allows it to hold a longer charge for improved range and faster charging, reducing down time. The concept truck design includes an engine-generator option for extended range capabilities, allowing users to benefit from Cummins B4.5 or B6.7 engines. "These engine options offer 50 per cent fuel savings compared to today’s diesel hybrids with zero emissions," it says.

Digital, data and analytics

The company notes that in May it formed a new internal organisation led by chief information officer Sherry Aaholm and called the Digital Accelerator. It seeks to streamline innovation, "bringing concepts from the idea stage to commercialisation at the most efficient and effective pace".

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