Going on a Cummins-Powered Road Trip
*Note: Srikanth Padmanabhan is the President, Engine Business at Cummins Inc. In 2015 he joined a fleet of five Cummins-powered tractor trailers on the last leg of the Cummins North American REDefining Tour. The following is a first person account of the sights and sounds he experienced along the way.
76,558 miles. 1,475 hours. 114 days. 33 city stops. 5 trucks. 9 professional drivers. 114 days.
When I woke up in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, October 3rd, there was only 1 day, 287 miles and 5 hours to go.
Departing Columbus, Indiana on June 12th, this fleet of five Cummins-powered tractors with trailers have spent the summer and early-fall travelling across North America, showcasing Cummins industry-leading technology in a major road show called the Redefining Tour. On October 3rd, I drove with our team of drivers as they embarked on the final leg of the trip from Nashville to Indianapolis.
During our road trip to Indy, I wanted to experience the ride on different trucks as well as learn firsthand how Cummins new products performed. From the integration of the power train to the use of Automated Manual Transmissions to our SmartAdvantage™ products, I believe we have winners with our new 2015 ISX15 and 2017 ISX15 engines.
What was more evident to me on this trip than ever before was the explosion in data, electronics, GPS information and the connection of all these to real-world customer-use application and better fuel economy in the trucks.
These trucks have delivered fuel economy between 8-10 miles per gallon...very close to what we demonstrated in the SuperTruck program.
The drivers were ecstatic about how the vehicle slows and accelerates according to the look-ahead features to maximize fuel economy. The nerd in me got excited seeing the RPM drop from 1150 rpm to 550 rpm and the cab becoming completely quiet as the engine coasted the highway coming off a big hill. While taking advantage of gravity is not new, coordinating the engine and transmission involves complex software, and these kinds of features are starting to help our customers in real tangible ways. These trucks have delivered fuel economy between 8-10 miles per gallon, very close to what we demonstrated in the SuperTruck program. Remarkable.
As we wound our way through the knobs of Kentucky, I thought about how a technology revolution has begun and we are a part of it. I was excited to see some of these “features of tomorrow” in our trucks and in Cummins engines today. The future is arriving now.
During our drive, I had the opportunity to listen to the drivers’ life stories, experience our products in action and understand how the industry is shaping. I reflected on the sheer appropriateness of the Cummins vision statement- Making people’s lives better by unleashing the Power of Cummins. Ultimately, we truly make our customers’ lives better in whatever they do through our products. Most of them are not in it for the money. They truly love what they do. Their purpose, joy in small things (be it as little as a delicious western omelet at a local restaurant) and trying to earn a living through difficulties makes it all the more real for us to live on the Cummins brand promise of dependability.
In our relentless drive to meet the needs of all of our stakeholders, it reminded me once more that our end customer is our most important stakeholder. Our customers live with our products every day, relying on them to bring them back home to their family and friends after every trip. That is incredible motivation for me to continue to drive the redefining of what innovation and dependability in our products means, ensuring that the Cummins brand promise is alive to meet the ordinary and extraordinary needs of our customers every leg of the trip.