Cummins Shows Electric Truck Prior To Tesla Launch

Engine maker Cummins Inc. has introduced an all-electric heavy duty truck ahead of Tesla.

The 18,000-pound rig with maximum payload of 44,000 pounds was shown yesterday at Cummins’ tech center in Columbus, Ohio. A concept vehicle at this point, the truck was built by Roush with Cummins’ electric drive and is targeted at companies needing local deliveries.

Cummins says its truck, named AEOS after a four-winged horse-driven chariot from Greek mythology, will go 100 miles per charge. It will need an hour to recharge. That will be reduced to 20 minutes by 2020.

Tesla, which will launch its new from the ground up semi next month, has been reported to be preparing it to go 200-300 mile per charge.

Other automakers, including Ford, are said to be conducting research on entering this new regional route electric truck market segment centered around a home charging base.

In June, Cummins announced it will be making electric drivetrains for buses by 2019. For now, it will be a priority over the electric truck.

“Initially, these products will service the transit bus market, but this is just the beginning,” said Julie Furber, Cummins’ executive director of electrification.

“We are going to take electrification to all our markets and the applications that we serve when the time is right. This truck enables us to demonstrate that electrified powertrains will be viable,” Furber said.

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Cummins for years has been known for diesel engines used in commercial trucks. That’s been changing in the past couple of years especially since the Volkswagen scandal broke in fall of 2015.

The engine maker has been investing heavily in alternatives such as natural gas engines and now electric.

Cummins next step with the concept is to gain input from companies with large truck fleets.

Srikanth Padmanabhan, president of Cummins’ engine business, said no launch date has been set. Timing will have much to do with demand from companies like Wal-Mart and FedEx and for which truck makers are willing to build them, he said.

“The customers need to pull it rather than us doing it. We participate through our [original equipment manufacturers]. We are working with leading OEMs that have shown interest in this technology and as they pull and as they announce, that is how we would go to market,” Padmanabhan said.

For now, electric buses are the top priority. Bus manufacturers are building them and municipal transit systems are putting them in service, he said.

USA Today


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