Cummins Electrification Leader Says Broad Power Portfolio is Best for Customers

Executive Director of Electrified Power Julie Furber speaks at the Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana (U.S.A.).
Executive Director of Electrified Power Julie Furber speaks at the Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana (U.S.A.).

The leader of Cummins’ Electrified Power business said this week customers are best served by a company offering a broad portfolio of products so they can choose the power solution that works best for them.

“Different solutions meet different needs,” Julie Furber told the Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana (U.S.A.). “…We believe (offering) a variety of solutions is the way to go.”

The summit was held in conjunction with the Work Truck Show, the largest gathering of its kind in North America. Work trucks are commercial vehicles designed for specific jobs such as construction, delivery, tow trucks, snow plows and more. The summit puts a special focus on environmental issues related to these vehicles such as alternative power technologies and fuels.

Furber, executive director of Cummins Electrified Power segment, said the company’s goal is to be the industry leader in electrified power in every market Cummins’ serves. But she also said with advances in clean diesel, Cummins expects diesel engines to remain an important power source for years to come, particularly in long-haul trucking.

Natural gas engines, especially those using renewable natural gas, can be incredibly clean and efficient. Hybrid engines offer still additional benefits in the right situation and Furber said Cummins is also exploring possibilities such as fuel cell technology to power data centers.

Providing customers with the “right technology at the right time,” is key, Furber said.

She spoke at a panel titled “It’s a New Kind of Truck – It’s Not Your Father’s Work Truck Anymore,” devoted to electrification. She sees electrified power in the work truck industry evolving in three distinct phases:

*An introductory phase where people become familiar with the technology.
*A phase where the technology is increasingly adopted, especially in urban areas where the necessary infrastructure is expected to first develop.
*And finally a phase where electrified power becomes fully viable economically, perhaps following a major technology break through affecting price.

“There will be lots of changes,” Furber said, predicting a path for electrification not unlike the cell phone, which went from something of a curiosity in the 1970s and early 1980s to ubiquitous today, with an established infrastructure around the world.

Cummins has pledged to have an all-electric powertrain on the market for buses by 2019. Furber says the company has several advantages when it comes to succeeding in the field.

Cummins has been working with electrification for decades in areas such as hybrid engines. It also has the size and service network to provide customers with the reliability they need to succeed.

Furber says electrification will have to be a proven technology with established service networks before it sees widespread adoption in the work truck market where customers depend on their vehicles for their livelihood.

While the decision to purchase an automobile can be influenced by the heart, she says purchasing a work truck is almost entirely an exercise of the head.
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins Partners with Purolator to Deliver on the Promise of Electrification

The Purolator-Cummins electric delivery truck is being tested on the streets of Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
The Purolator-Cummins electric delivery truck is being tested on the streets of Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

Purolator Courier Alexis Picard says it’s been cool to drive the all-electric test truck this summer that’s part of a joint project involving the Canadian package delivery company and Cummins. 

First, there is less heat in the cab, which has been nice on warm days in Ottawa. But he’s especially enjoyed the surprise on many of his customers’ faces when he pulls up to deliver something.

“People are expressing excitement toward me driving the vehicle,” Picard said. “But more people, I would say, are shocked when they see me driving a vehicle that doesn’t make any noise and they hear my sound system over the engine.

“It’s a bit of a nice feeling,” he adds with a smile.

The unassuming “VÉHICULE ÉLECTRIQUE” could be an important bridge to the low-carbon future both companies want. Having experimented with various forms of low carbon energy for much of the past decade, Purolator is looking for a powertrain that can realistically replace combustion engines in urban areas.

“It’s not just our customers but our employees who are pushing for change,” said Serge Viola, Purolator’s Director of Asset Management. “But any change must be reliable under all conditions. Our customers expect their packages will be delivered on time. That’s our business.”

For Cummins, the test truck is a chance to learn more about electrification, building on its wealth of experience in hybrid-electric engines as the company establishes a new Electrified Power business. Cummins wants to offer customers a broad product portfolio – including clean diesel, natural gas, hybrids and electrification – so they can choose what works best for them.

“Partnering with Purolator enabled us to be at the forefront of innovation and accelerate our learnings in the field,” said Julie Furber, Executive Director – Electrified Power at Cummins. “We have worked closely with Purolator on customer requirements to design and integrate the powertrain into this vehicle. We look forward to using our learnings on new development opportunities.”

Purolator driver Alexis Picard deliverse a package
Alexis Picard, who frequently drives the Purolator-Cummins electric truck, delivers a package in Ottawa.

KEY CHALLENGES

Purolator has experimented with a variety of approaches to incorporate alternative energy forms into delivery vehicles. The company had a fleet of diesel-electric hybrids, for example, and then experimented with a totally redesigned delivery vehicle that not only used electrified power but also improved driver ergonomics and used space more efficiently. The company even explored hydrogen as an energy source. 

But Purolator has never quite found the right combination of technology, reliability and manufacturing muscle in a partner to keep one of Canada’s most extensive transportation and logistics networks rolling in a new way.

For Viola, implementing electrification comes down to three key challenges:

•    Can the battery range be sufficient to keep vehicles running on some of Purolator’s longer urban routes?

•    Is there a company behind the vehicle with a demonstrated supply chain and service network to produce and service the number of electric vehicles Purolator needs?

•    And perhaps most importantly, what happens if the power goes out overnight at one of Purolator’s hubs?

“I don’t envision having enough off-the-grid generating power at any one site to charge-up 30 or 40 vehicles,” he said.  “We have to have a plan even in the unlikely event that the power goes out overnight at one of our facilities.”

So far, Purolator has been happy with the test truck, Viola said. But he wants to see how it performs on longer routes and in the coldest part of a Canadian winter.

Purolator truck on the highways of Ottawa
The Purolator-Cummins electric truck has logged more than 10,000 kilometers in development and field testing.

WHAT’S BEEN LEARNED

Cummins started work on electric powertrains long before the Electrified Power business started earlier this year. The partnership with Purolator, in fact, goes back to 2016. The test truck contains 12 battery modules totalling 62 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy.  The battery modules can be connected in LEGO-like fashion to store and release the energy that ultimately turns the vehicle’s wheels.  

The truck has logged about 5,304 km (3,296 miles) in field testing and another 6,000 km (3,728 miles) during development testing. On average, it has run about 35 km (21 miles) per day in temperatures ranging from 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) earlier this year to 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) over the summer.

Viola said the truck has been able to complete its route and get back to the garage for recharging with plenty of power to spare. The company has started putting it on a 70-km route to learn more about its limits.

“Our driver has been a little nervous coming back, but we’ve never had a problem,” he said.

Cummins’ plan is to run the test vehicle for 12 full months, gather as much information as possible, and use what is learned in the company’s future product offerings. Cummins has pledged to have an all-electric powertrain for urban buses on the market by the end of 2019. 

The company is focusing on the urban bus and truck markets initially because that’s where it thinks the infrastructure for electrification will develop first. Cummins believes it has the manufacturing expertise and service network to quickly play a leading role in the electrification market. 

While pleased with the test so far, Viola is reluctant to predict just when much of Purolator’s fleet will be electrified. He’s waiting for a partner that can build 300 to 400 trucks and meet the company’s key challenges, first.

Includes reporting by Katie Davage, Senior Communications Specialist - Electrified Power 
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins puts Electrification Progress on Display

Cummins displayed an electric system for bus applications at the Busworld show in Izmir, Turkey.
Cummins displayed an electric system for bus applications at the Busworld show in Izmir, Turkey.

Cummins is moving quickly to develop the company’s new electrification business, displaying technologies it’s working on at trade shows this month in Paris and Izmir, Turkey.

The company’s Electrified Power business unveiled an electric system for city bus, shuttle and intercity bus applications at Busworld in Izmir, Turkey, last week (April 19-21). And the business is displaying its first electrified off-highway powertrain concept suitable for cranes, excavators and wheeled loaders at Intermat in Paris through Saturday (April 23-28).

Both could potentially deliver zero emissions technology to customers on a broad scale before the end of the decade or sooner.

“With our recent acquisitions of Brammo and Johnson Matthey Battery Systems (two battery companies), we are building capability across the entire range of electric storage,” said Julie Furber, Executive Director, Cummins Electrified Power. “We want to be as transparent as we can about where we’re headed so customers can see what’s coming and think about the Cummins technology that will work best for them.”

Cummins believes there is no single answer to the world’s power needs. Instead, the company wants to offer customers a range of technologies to help them succeed while addressing global needs such as reducing greenhouse gases.    

The displays at Busworld in Turkey and Intermat in France are merely the latest signs Cummins is determined to be the electrification leader in every market it serves. Less than a year ago the company unveiled AEOS, a fully electric, heavy-duty demonstration truck Cummins is using to study electrification. And it’s been less than six months since the company announced it was starting its Electrified Power business.

AEOS - Cummins heavy duty electric concept truck
Cummins' all-electric demonstration truck AEOS will help the company study electrification.

“We’re moving quickly, but we have a big advantage in that Cummins has been working on electrification for more than a decade,” Furber said. “We’ve manufactured hybrids like diesel-electric engines. We’ve brought to market engines using stop-start technology. So that gives us a significant head start compared to smaller companies without much experience scaling up a new product.”

Cummins has pledged to have an all-electric powertrain for the urban bus market by 2019, and off-highway applications will follow at a later date.


BUSWORLD IN TURKEY

The system that was on display at Busworld is configurable for either a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) or a range-extended electric vehicle (REEV), incorporating an engine-generator with a battery pack.

It uses a new Cummins 74-kWh battery pack with more space-efficient packaging, enabling easier bus integration with a format expandable to eight batteries. That would provide an operating range of up to 385 km (240 miles) on a single charge.
 
The Cummins designed and built batteries achieve a higher energy density and use a proprietary control technology to maintain battery charging for a longer range. Operational flexibility is provided with an integral plug-in connection for overnight or route-end charging, and options for on-route charging where the proper infrastructure exists.

“Our BEV and REEV electric architecture was designed to be fully adaptable for today’s diesel bus models,” said Cenk Yavuz, Cummins Territory Leader in Turkey. “This allows transport authorities to specify the same buses that work so well for them today with an electric system.”  

 

INTERMAT IN PARIS

Cummins is using virtual reality to demonstrate its first electrified off-highway powertrain concept at Intermat. Visitors will see how REEV would power a wheeled loader, used for excavating and carrying bulky material. The loader could be charged overnight, allowing two hours of operation per 35 kWh battery. More batteries would be required for longer zero emission operation.

REEV offers a balance of battery power with a compact engine-generator.  It has an F3.8 Stage V powered generator, giving much more flexibility where charging infrastructure is not available. Cummins’ BEV system is intended for the most environmentally challenged locations, suitable for applications such as drills, underground mine trucks and terminal tractors.

“Cummins is developing a portfolio of alternative power for the industrial market, including full electric and range extending electric drivelines,” Furber said. “These complement our Stage V clean diesels and enable us to offer the best solutions for our customers, whatever their needs.”

 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

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