Cummins Unveils Electric Semi-Truck

Cummins might be known best for making diesel engines for light-duty pickups and diesel trucks, but it has leaped into the electric vehicle industry with a bang.

On Tuesday, the company based in Columbus, Indiana, revealed its Urban Hauler Tractor that is 100% electric. By doing so, Cummins might have taken away some of the thunder from electric vehicle maker Tesla, which has plans of revealing its own semi-truck that is electric in September.

The Class 7 semi design is 18,000 pounds and known as AEOS. It was made to move freight in short haul local trips. It can carry up to 44,000 pounds and its battery pack of 140-kWh only needs one hour to fully charge. The prototype when fully operational will have a range of just 100 miles, so the new semi-truck is definitely designed as a city-based cargo solution.

In contrast, reports said that Tesla’s not yet revealed truck will have a range of 200 to 300 miles.

Cummins said that before the end of 2020 improvement in battery technology is expected to lower the charging time for the battery to just 20 minutes.

Being experts in engines as opposed to developers of entire vehicles, Cummins wisely went to Roush Industries the auto industry development and engineering experts to help in the development of the truck, which gives explanation to how the production is planned for as soon as 2019.

Cummins is not planning to assemble its trucks, but rather considers itself as the supplier of the driveline and battery system.

The key is the electric powertrain, but it is not able to do everything alone, and the AEOS is able to have the range it does through its low-rolling resistance tires as well as its regenerative braking.

In addition, the company noted that solar panels mounted on the roof could cut down on consumption further, and the concept has cameras rather that side mirrors to help lower aerodynamic drag. The camera design is not yet legal in the U.S. for either passenger cars or trucks.

When the truck reaches the market within the next few years, Cummins said it is planning to offer a model that is extended range that uses one of the diesel engines of the company like a generator that will charge the battery, similar to Chevy’s Volt.

That will help stretch the truck’s range to over 300 miles between charges and still lower emission versus the diesel-hybrid truck by close to 50%.

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