Santa Monica has arrived

Santa Monica Big Blue Bus

Public transit gets a charge

This month, Santa Monica came together to experience the clean power and potential - of the first-ever GILLIG battery electric bus, powered by Cummins. Everyone from local riders to government officials got to experience the latest in electric transit innovation.

Officially on board 

The battery electric bus was on display around town, from downtown to the pier. City Manager Rick Cole was one of several people to ride the bus and discover first-hand how it could be the answer to a greener future for the city.

“Getting on board this big, beautiful bus is the way of the future,” said Cole. 

The rollout of the bus is the first step in Big Blue Bus system’s transition to a clean energy fleet by 2030. Riders can experience the new zero-emission bus in service on regular routes in Santa Monica.

Built on experience

The battery electric bus is the latest innovation from the partnership between GILLIG and Cummins, two of the most respected names in heavy-duty transit.

With over 200 years of combined experience, GILLIG and Cummins have a long history of collaborating to develop power solutions for transit applications.

Cummins battery packs were designed specifically for GILLIG buses and feature a single-source system design for drive motor, battery management system, and energy storage.

“The drivers’ response to the new bus has been great,” said Hector Calvinisti, Transit Training Coordinator at Big Blue Bus.

“They are really surprised about how well it performs on our mobility landscape, especially when it goes up hills. The technology has really advanced over the past few years, so we are really fortunate to be able to work with the bus.”

This is just the beginning. The Cummins-powered GILLIG battery electric bus is now available to cities around the country. Read more about the zero-emission bus here.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Do electric excavators have a future in construction?

The construction industry has more than 733,000 employers and over 7 million employees. It is a top contributor to the U.S. economy, generating nearly $1.4 trillion worth of structures each year. And according to the United Nations Environment Program, buildings and their construction together account for more than 35% of global energy use and nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually.

As the world is faced with the climate crisis, the construction industry has to find ways to adopt greener energy solutions. It is a critical challenge to ensure the momentum of transformation for lowering construction emissions does not slow.

Cummins builds a pathway to more sustainable construction

In 2018, Hyundai Construction Equipment and Cummins announced that they would jointly develop electric-powered mini excavators. Since then, prototypes of the mini excavators have been developed and the two companies have gathered initial market feedback and continue to refine the product for target customer use-cases.

Now, Hyundai and Cummins are moving this long-term, productive partnership into its next phase – field testing.

During this phase, prototypes of a production intent design are handed over to customers to gain real world experience and to test and validate the adoptability of electric-powered mini excavators against the needs of those customers. Field testing plays an essential role in delivering best-in-class solutions that meet or exceed the durability and reliability expectations that Hyundai and Cummins are recognized for in the industry.

Field testing is an essential piece in delivering best-in-class solutions and demonstrates how we are always innovating for safety and performance. Duplicating real-world environment testing under Hyundai’s operating conditions and duty cycles, we will monitor the mini excavators’ adoptability, performance and reliability.

Why are excavators a good candidate for electrification?

Zero-emissions

As stricter standards for zero-emissions continue to arise, even off-highway applications have begun to feel the push to lower their CO2 emissions. Urban cities have started to implement zero-emission zones (ZEZ) that require any vehicle, on- or off-highway, to comply with the area's regulations. For this reason, construction zones in urban cities have sought out electrified products, such as electric excavators, that match or exceed the reliability and performance of their diesel counterparts. These electric excavators are now considered invaluable for indoor construction sites, where the diesel counterparts were unable to function due to the fumes they emitted and poor ventilation.

Noise Pollution

As more cities implement ZEZs, there has been a noticeable decrease in noise pollution. What was once a loud machine that caused a disturbing ruckus when turned on, is now just as quiet when operating as it would be when turned off. A reduction in noise pollution is not only satisfying to the construction site’s surrounding areas, but in many ways decreasing environmental noise could have positive effects on passerby health. Regardless of noise, construction companies want assurance that these electrified excavators can get the job done.

An additional advantage of reducing noise pollution is improved communication between the operator of the excavator and other workers on-site. By removing the engine-induced vibrations, both the operator and the workers guiding the operator can better hear one another.

Interoperability

Operators have noted that there is no difference in machine interoperability between electric and diesel counterparts. The performance of an electric excavator easily matched the performance of diesel vehicles. Its motor’s response to fluctuations in load is faster due to the connectivity speed between the electric module and battery, allowing for better operating performance and feel.

Maintenance

Because electric excavators no long run on traditional fuel, the need for coolants and oil filters is eliminated and significantly decreases the maintenance intervals. The vehicles also have a lower number of parts that need to be maintained, which can potentially result in in the total cost of ownership to be more affordable than their diesel counterparts.

What are some of the challenges that electric excavators still face today?

Packaging

Packaging has always been a dilemma in the electrification space as these machines were optimized for a diesel engine, not batteries. While batteries are less energy dense than traditional fuel, they require additional components that a diesel engine and fuel cell do not, such as a thermal management system. So, the most prominent question engineers are working to answer is, how do you pack a battery with enough energy and all its components into an existing diesel machine?

Cooling and Heating

Being enclosed in such tight spaces and exposed to all types of weather, excavators need to perform under all kinds of temperatures. However, due to the machine's compactness, adding a component for cooling is not always possible. From a heating standpoint, the battery cannot operate if it's below 0 degrees Celcius due to its chemistry.

Cummins' demonstration powertrain solution

Cummins has designed a new electric powertrain for the smaller, more compact 1.9-tonne excavator. Similar to the 2018 model that was developed from scratch, these mini excavators feature a whole new powertrain that offsets some of the challenges of the application. With a new motor, onboard charger, electric hardware integration and never-before-used BM8.9E battery, this model of the excavator has been optimized for electrification.

While developing the design for the new electric mini-excavators, Cummins engineers needed to overcome the obstacle of packaging. In addition to using energy dense lithium ion batteries, Cummins engineers implemented creative, compact design solutions to optimize the packaging of the electric powertrain in the existing space claim of a diesel excavator. These solutions included custom motor-pump coupling assembly, split compact Power Distribution Unit solutions for maximizing space utilization and replacing a large mechanical fan mounted to the engine with a small electric fan that runs by battery to cool the hydraulic oil. The electric fan also has a smart feature which turns the fans on only as required so they are not running all the time.

To optimize the system further, Cummins added additional smart features across multiple components to increase efficiency. This new system will also include components to address battery temperature regulation – internal battery heaters for thermal management.

What are we hoping to learn with this next phase?

Cummins is building 11, 1.9-tonne battery-electric mini excavators. In 2022, nine of those excavators will be delivered to customers across Europe and South Korea for field testing to determine their adoptability in applications where diesel-powered excavators are traditionally used.

With this new battery electric solution working through field tests, Cummins hopes to better understand the product market, its demands and what impact electrified power will have on the construction industry. The test units will provide insights into end-users’ duty cycles, power demand, operator experience and associated field data.

Keep up with alternative power innovation

From long-range possibilities to innovations happening now, Net Zero News delivers monthly highlights for low-carbon energy. Subscribe today to receive the next issue in your inbox.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins enters agreement with Sion Power to develop lithium metal technology

Cummins is furthering their battery technology portfolio by entering an agreement with Sion Power Corporation, a leading developer of high-energy rechargeable battery technology, to design and supply battery cells based on their proprietary lithium metal technology for commercial vehicle applications. In connection with the agreement, Cummins has invested in Sion Power. The investment provides Cummins a minority stake in Sion Power and allows Sion Power to further develop their lithium metal technology for the commercial vehicle technology, positioning both companies for success in the future commercialization of the technology.

“Our customers rely on Cummins to provide the most robust electric powertrains in the world. We need battery technologies that will meet the performance and cost expectations for tough, commercial vehicle duty cycles.” - Amy Davis, Vice President at Cummins and President of the company’s New Power segment.

Under the agreement, Sion Power will engage in a multi-year development program to design and supply large-format lithium metal battery cells for use in Cummins battery packs. The batteries developed by Cummins will be integrated in its electric powertrains for commercial vehicles.

Sion Power’s high-energy battery chemistry is an important component of Cummins’ roadmap to electrify the company’s commercial vehicle products. Based on Sion Power’s proprietary lithium-metal anode technology and incorporating its patented manufacturing process, the cell provides a robust, long-lasting rechargeable battery for Cummins’ demanding applications.

“Sion Power’s Licerion® is an enabling technology for Cummins’ future electric commercial vehicle offerings. Cummins is an ideal partner for Sion Power to enable this next generation of electric mobility and significantly support the decarbonization of the transportation industry. Together this strategic relationship sets us on a path to deliver the future of batteries.” - Tracy Kelley, Chief Executive Officer at Sion Power.

Keep up with alternative power innovation

From long-range possibilities to innovations happening now, Net Zero News delivers monthly highlights for low-carbon energy. Subscribe today to receive the next issue in your inbox.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Letenda's new zero-emissions transit bus to be powered by Cummins

Letenda's new zero-emissions transit bus to be powered by Cummins

Our battery technology will be powering public transportation in Canada! Today, Canadian bus manufacturer Letenda announced that Cummins has been selected to power their new battery electric demonstrator vehicle, the Electrip® transit bus. The Electrip® is a 30-foot, zero-emissions transit bus that is expected be unveiled in early 2022. 

Specifically designed for the North American region, Letenda’s new bus electric bus utilizes Cummins’ proven Battery Electric System, featuring remote diagnostics and over-the-air connectivity. The Electrip® utilizes three battery packs providing 222kWh capacity and is compatible with DC fast charge and plug-in charging. Cummins provided the complete electrified powertrain including the powertrain controls, batteries, propulsion motor, power electronics, charging controls and connectivity systems. 

“We are proud to collaborate with Cummins, with whom we share the same values of innovation and sustainability,” said Nicolas Letendre, President of Letenda. “Cummins has a proven track record of delivering leading power solutions for the bus industry and as a global powertrain leader. We’re pleased to offer our customers a safe, efficient and reliable solution to transition from diesel-powered buses.” 

“Cummins is delighted to work with Letenda to power their zero-emissions transit bus,” said Amy Davis, Vice President and President of New Power at Cummins. “Letenda has completely designed their bus from the wheels up for electrification which is exciting for us and for our customers. This demonstration expands Cummins battery-electric solutions to smaller transit bus applications which can help communities meet sustainability targets.”

Cummins and Letenda will look to expand this collaboration in the future as Letenda plans to commercialize their zero-emissions transit bus across Canada and the United States. The Electrip® will be demonstrating with a Canadian transit authority in the Province of Quebec.  

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins and GILLIG deliver their 100th battery electric bus

Cummins and GILLIG deliver their 100th battery electric bus

It’s almost the most exciting day of the week – package delivery day!

Cummins is preparing to deliver a package in the form of the 100th battery electric transit bus in collaboration with GILLIG. This exciting delivery is in route to Metro Transit in St. Louis, Missouri.

“This is a great milestone for Cummins, GILLIG and Metro Transit, but we are just getting started,” said Amy Davis, Vice President and President of New Power at Cummins. “The adoption of zero-emissions technologies is critical to meeting sustainability targets and neutralizing climate change. Cummins is here to partner with customers to decarbonize and is committed to providing battery-electric solutions with the innovation, support and service that customers expect from Cummins.”

Cummins first announced our electrified partnership with GILLIG in 2017. Since unveiling our first battery electric transit bus and delivering it to Santa Monica, California in 2019, we have worked together to ensure the bus builds upon the legacy of excellence and proven transit performance of the more than 27,000 GILLIG buses in service throughout the United States today.

The work we’ve accomplished with GILLIG is founded on our combined extensive experience in vehicle electrification. GILLIG’s first electrification products were a diesel-electric hybrid and overhead trolley electric bus, introduced in 2001. For Cummins, we debuted our first all-electric truck in 2017 after more than a decade of research and technology development and have since delivered hundreds of electrified powertrains across various applications. 

“We’re thrilled that our 100th electric bus is going to Metro, an agency that we have partnered closely with for over two decades,” said GILLIG President and CEO Derek Maunus. “This milestone is the result of the passionate effort of the entire GILLIG organization over the past five years. I couldn’t be more proud of our team. Our electric bus continues to set the standard for excellence in reliability, durability, cost effectiveness and performance.”  

GILLIG's current electric bus is a second-generation product built on the company's proven Low Floor Platform and utilizes the Cummins Battery Electric System, featuring remote diagnostics and over-the-air connectivity. This system is backed by Cummins' extensive support network of qualified technicians across the nation, further demonstrating our continued dedication to the quality our customers expect.

The bus has endured rigorous engineering and validation testing to meet customer needs on all fronts, including hot and cold testing, before going into production. In July, our battery electric bus completed testing with Federal Transit Administration’s Test Program in Altoona Pennsylvania, where it scored exceptionally well in all measurement categories and stood out especially for durability and performance. 

Keep up with alternative power innovation

From long-range possibilities to innovations happening now, Net Zero News delivers monthly highlights for low-carbon energy. Subscribe today to receive the next issue in your inbox.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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