Cummins announced it will have a fully electrified powertrain system available for its customers and on the road by the end of 2019.
Making the announcement via teleconference June 14, Julie Furber, executive director of electrification business development for Cummins, said in addition to the 2019 release, the company will also unveil a range extended electric vehicle by 2020.
“We believe that we know some things about electrification that maybe others don’t,” Furber said. “The first commercial markets that we see moving are transit bus, pick-up and delivery, and material handling. And then longer term, we believe that electrified power will come to all of our markets in one way shape or form, but not tomorrow, and not next year, despite all the chatter you may be hearing.”
Furber said there will be several factors pushing toward the electrification of vehicles, including regulations on emission levels and internal combustion engines, noise reduction in urban environments, and increased social pressure and expectations for environmental sustainability.
Tom Linebarger, Cummins’ chairman and CEO, said the company was increasing its investment into electrification, as well as telematics and digital technology, but is also maintaining its investment into diesel, as the company believes the fuel will endure in several markets for years to come.
Linebarger did, however, emphasize that Cummins was not simply a diesel engine company, as many have come to recognize them, but rather go far beyond that.
“We are a technology company,” Linebarger said. “Technology, innovation and empower is what we do. The trucking industry was built on the back of Cummins.”
Linebarger said electrification was coming, particularly in the urban market, and that Cummins would not only look internally to bring advanced technologies to customers, but also externally, which is why the company is able to be a leader in electrification, telematics and digital technology.
“There’s no question that electrification is here,” he said, “and we have real experience in this market.
“Innovation for long-term growth is our focus today. We will actively look for ways to disrupt ourselves, rather than allow others to disrupt us.”
Furber, who leads the company’s electrification unit which was launched earlier this year, said one of the biggest hurdles for electric vehicles in the past was cost, something that has come down in recent years making them a more viable option for many customers.
On the engine side, Jennifer Rumsey, chief technical officer for Cummins, said the company’s next generation heavy-duty engine, which is currently under development, will provide improved efficiency and power from a package that is smaller and lighter than its current X-15.
She added that Cummins sees an opportunity to provide engines to countries around the world that are looking to improve emissions standards in the coming years.
“We believe this continued focus on the engine system is critical,” Rumsey said, “but a broader focus on the power system is necessary to provide a market-leading solution to our customers.”
Rumsey highlighted the Eaton-Cummins automated transmissions technology as a key area of focus for the company, which will design, develop, and sell current and future automated transmission for medium- and heavy-duty applications globally.
Rumsey also touted the company’s efforts when it comes to alternative fuels, saying, “While we believe it’s important not to lose our focus on the diesel power system, we also recognize the importance of developing alternative energy options.”
Cummins has invested in new natural gas technologies for on- and off-highway, as well as being ready for any potential moves toward bio-fuels, synthetic fuels, and hydrogen.
“Cummins is doing all the right things in the right way,” said Furber. “And we are prepared to disrupt, to grow, and keep becoming better and better.”