Cummins plans electric powertrain for short-haul applications, long-haul still a ways off

Cummins announced Wednesday it plans to introduce a fully electrified powertrain for the urban transportation market by 2019.Cummins announced Wednesday it plans to introduce a fully electrified powertrain for the urban transportation market by 2019.

Cummins announced Wednesday evening in a teleconference it will introduce a fully electrified powertrain for the urban transportation market by 2019 and a range-extended electrified powertrain by 2020.

The company said electric powertrain solutions for pickup and delivery and material handling applications would follow, but did not announce near-term plans for such systems in the North American commercial trucking industry, citing the familiar battery size and weight issues associated with long-range applications.

“Longer term, electrification will come to all of our markets,” said Julie Furber, executive director of Cummins’ Electrification Business Development, a division formed earlier this year. “We are looking into mild hybridization to gain efficiency, but fully electrified powertrains for long-haul vehicles is a ways out into the future.”

The timing of the Cummins announcement coincides with the precipitous price drop of batteries and electronic components required to make electrified powertrain technology a viable alternative to diesel power. Customer demand for electric power also is rising in urban areas, where noise and emissions regulations will spur subsidies for early adopters.

Cummins’ new endeavor also comes on the heels of Nikola Motor Company’s Nikola One hydrogen-electric hybrid announced last year and Elon Musk’s promise to introduce the Tesla Semi electric truck later this summer.

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