Cummins has made its name in diesel powertrains, so why are they now investing in electrification technology too?
As we’ve covered here, Cummins believes electrification will make up a significant percentage of the road transport propulsion market in coming years.
Perhaps not in line-haul trucks just yet, but for inner-city type deliveries, Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., has told Diesel Progress the technology is ideal…
“What we’d like to do is solve customers problems in a way that helps them prosper, that’s the way that we look at all our technology innovation.
“We can see that electrification offers some advantages, especially for urban, short range and medium range vehicles that have to spend a lot of time in the city and do a lot of pickups and deliveries,”
“They stop and go a lot and that’s ideal for technology like regenerative braking and other ways of gathering up energy.
“Secondly, noise reduction, less maintenance, a lot of other benefits for the application.
“The technology has been around for a while, what’s changed is the cost of the batteries, battery costs are clearly coming down and we’re hopeful that with electrification we can now offer solutions to customers in a range of ways that will really advantage them.”
Why do you think that Cummins will be able to better serve those customers?
“Well, for one, innovation has been something we’ve been doing since we were founded.
“When its time for innovation that’s when Cummins works the best, from the very first day when we replaced gasoline engines with diesel, to how we innovated how diesel works, from two-stroke to four-stroke, intercooled and all those technologies, then all the way through emissions.
“All of that, while trying to find better solutions for customers in their own business, in their applications.
“This is the same challenge.
“A lot of people have been working on electrification for some time, but now as the technologies become more ready for the market in regards to cost and performance there’s still the challenge that each of these applications perform very differently,”
“A transit bus performs very differently from a long-range truck.
“A pickup and delivery truck performs very differently from a long-range truck.
“So, understanding how these vehicles perform in these different situations and how they need to be supported and serviced, this is what Cummins does, we’ve been in these markets for nearly 100 years.
“We know these customers well and we also understand that each of them has different needs and we will be ready with the right solutions for these customers.”
In saying all that, diesel isn’t going anywhere for a little while yet, is it?
“No, not only has diesel improved dramatically over the past 20 years, with emissions regulations now we’re eliminating 95% of particulate emissions,”
“So, the diesel engines that we love are totally different to the past, but there’s more to go, that’s what’s really exciting about diesel engine technology.
“We’re talking about thermal efficiencies of 50 or 55% now, totally different to what we were talking about just 10 years ago.
“So, lots of improvements in diesel engines which will continue to make them more competitive in their segments and there will be parts of our markets where diesel engines remain the power of choice for many, many years.
“We just want to make sure than no matter what customer need you have, Cummins has the right technology solution for you.”
We will keep you updated as further details on Cummins electrified powertrains come to hand in our Truck and Bus News section.