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Cummins to put fully electrified powertrain system on road in 2019


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Truck News  /  June 14, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Cummins has 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.”

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Cummins commits to electrification and more

Today’s Trucking  /  June 14, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Cummins is pledging to launch a fully electrified powertrain in 2019, and a range-extended electric powertrain in 2020. But senior executives stress that these rollouts will be for urban transit vehicles, and that electrified long-haul trucks are still years from reality.

“We are not just a diesel engine company,” proclaimed Chief Executive Officer Tom Linebarger, during a Wednesday conference call. “Technology is what we do. Innovation is what we do.”

An internal electrification business group is combining Cummins expertise with selected partners, as they collectively develop power storage, related electronics, and traction motors.

With the falling cost of batteries and electronics, vehicle electrification is already economically viable when combined with the right duty cycles and operational characteristics, said Julie Furber, electrification business development executive director. Examples of those applications are found in urban, material handling, and underground environments, according to Cummins.

While the current U.S. administration recently pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, and proposed funding cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Linebarger stresses that cities have been the primary drivers behind electrification. That’s where lawmakers are looking to control emissions, reduce noise, and relocate traditional fueling stations, he said, responding to a question from Today’s Trucking. “All those get better with electrification.”

Cummins executives, meanwhile, say they are well positioned to bring such technologies to market – thanks to existing relationships with Original Equipment Manufacturers and an established global service network.

“Our competitors will not be able to scale up from the passenger car,” Furber said, in an apparent nod to Tesla’s plans to introduce a Class 8 electric vehicle by September.

“For a long-haul vehicle, we think that’s out quite way into the future,” says Chief Technical Officer Jennifer Rumsey, referring to the challenges of battery size and weight. “We are looking at mild hybridization.”

Cummins engineers are looking well beyond electrification, too.

 “We see a trend away from diesel and we will continue to evolve,” said Rumsey. Identified long-term options range from biofuels to synthetic fuels and hydrogen. “Natural gas has big potential,” she added.

Don’t expect diesel to be abandoned anytime soon, however. Cummins officials say they are working on an engine that is smaller and lighter than the X15, which will target aerodynamic conventional and cabover trucks used in markets such as China, Mexico and Brazil, all of which are preparing to adopt tighter emission standards in the next two years.

Linebarger stressed that Cummins is also approaching business in a different way.

“We will actively look for ways to disrupt ourselves,” he added.

A new Growth Office has been established to evaluate hundreds of ideas and see how they can be integrated. That recently led to the creation of the Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies joint venture. Cummins is also working with Microsoft on a new natural gas fuel cell, currently being tested in Seattle.

It’s looking at more than hardware, too. Cummins will be involved in launching a smartphone-based Electronic Logging Device in the next week or so. That’s one of the projects under a new digital accelerator that will guide projects from concept stages to commercialization, Linebarger said.

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Cummins plans electrified powertrain system in 2019

Fleet Owner  /  June 15, 2017

City buses will likely be the first vehicles equipped with this new technology, the OEM’s executives said.

During a conference call this week with reporters, engine maker Cummins’ executive director of electrification business development Julie Furber said that the OEM plans to have a fully electrified powertrain system on the road by the end of 2019.

She said that transit buses in cities globally would likely be the first vehicles to have the new technology. Other top executives said other industrial and commercial uses would follow.

“We know things about electrification that maybe others don’t,” she explained during the hour-long session with reporters. “We believe that electrified power will come to all of our markets in one way, shape or form.”

Cummins chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said on the call that the company was upping its investment into electrification while continuing to focus on diesel fuel engines as well. He stressed that Cummins was more than an engine maker, now and going forward.

“We are also a technology company,” he asserted, while also stressing that “the trucking industry was built on the back of Cummins. But we are not just a diesel engine company. Oftentimes because we’ve been so successful in diesel engines people think that’s what defines Cummins, and it isn’t. We are a power technology company.”

Michael Baudendistel, vice president of the Stifel Transportation & Logistics Research Group – a division of Stifel Capital Markets – added in a research brief that the Cummins powertrain announcement is a “big deal” as it demonstrates the company is further along than was previously known in addressing what is likely its single biggest long-term risk: that electric will replace diesel as the dominant fuel source for commercial vehicle powertrains.

“We believe there are still many unanswered questions” about electric commercial vehicles, he noted, the “big three” being cost, weight, and range. For that reason “the pace of adoption [of electric powertrains] will be slower than seen in light vehicles,” Baudendistel said.

“But, no matter the timeline or eventuality, we believe Cummins has demonstrated that it intends to be a major player in that market when it develops and that it will not be caught flat-footed if the market moves away from its core diesel engine business,” he pointed out.

“We believe the reality is closer to how Tom Linebarger [Cummins CEO and chairman] described,” Baudendistel emphasized. “Essentially, the company is a power generation technology company that is investing an a wide range of alternative fuels in order to disrupt its industry leading diesel engines before the company can be disrupted by a competitor.”

He also highlighted Cummins’ plans to increase research and development investment above its historical 3% to 4% range in order to fund investment in electrification and other “digital” offerings, such as telematics. “In our view, money well spent,” Baudendistel said.

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Cummins Makes Big Electrification Move

Heavy Duty Trucking  /  June 15, 2017

Cummins announced that it will have a fully developed, all-electric powertrain available and on the road for customers in 2019, with a range-extended electric vehicle coming in 2020. The company made the announcement during a conference call Wednesday evening.

Tom Linebarger, Cummins chairman and CEO, noted in opening remarks that the transportation industry is at “critical juncture” today. “We understand that electrification is coming and that the world is changing,” Linebarger said. “Regulations and a technological point of view are driving these changes, and we think that means opportunity. Cummins is a power technology company. We will continue to innovate with new technology and look for ways to disrupt ourselves, instead of having our competitors disrupt us. We will bring the right technology to markets – not just trucking -- that will help our customers win while being a leader provider of those products in the future.”

Julie Furber, executive director of Cummins’ electrification business, said the company will leverage its knowledge and capability to offer entirely new powertrain solutions in the future for commercial and industrial markets. This initiative will begin next year with the introduction of a fully electric transit powertrain, closely followed by an extended-range electric vehicle in 2020.

In an email to investors, financial advisory firm Stifel noted, "To us, that’s a big deal as it demonstrates the company is further along than was previously known in addressing what is likely its single biggest long-term risk: that electric will replace diesel as the dominant fuel source for commercial vehicle powertrains."

“At Cummins, we think we know things about electrification our competitors do not,” Furber said. “In the short term, we believe electrification will come to transit bus, P&D and material handling segments. In the long term, this technology will come to all of the markets we serve in one form or another.

"Environmental and noise reduction regulations along with social pressure for environmental sustainability will drive adoption. As a leading provider of this technology, Cummins must make sure the cost and performance perspectives of this technology is viable so the long-term economics are in place for favorable cost of ownership later on, as trucks, off-highway and mining equipment as well as stationary power segments turn to electrification.”

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