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At the turn of the twentieth century, Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president of the U.S. and a few years later Henry Ford debuted the Model T in Detroit, Michigan. Only few visionaries at that time may have imagined a future with an intricate highway system, carrying people and goods from one coast to another in a matter of days. Or trolleys and streetcars becoming massive urban busses, running hundreds of people around a city center. It wasn’t until 1912 that the first transnational truck delivery was made—by a five-man crew travelling from Philadelphia to Petaluma, California, to deliver a load of olive oil soap in a record time of 91 days.

The future of commercial transportation

Since that soap was delivered, trucking grew into being the lifeblood of our economy, moving essential goods, medical supplies, and other items. It kept re-inventing itself through the great depression, the growth of air transportation, and the rise of globalization. As e-commerce soared, trucking has once again re-invented, becoming an integral part of our modern lives too. Through this journey, road transportation has seen the adoption of such technologies as collision mitigation, electrification, and lower carbon fuels. As the commercial transportation industry faces rapidly changing regulations and evolving customer needs, advanced technology will pave the way to not only meet these requirements but exceed what we previously thought was possible. Looking ahead, the future of commercial transportation will be shaped by three perspectives: a shifting energy mix, innovations in software, and evolving use cases driven by autonomous driving and vehicle-as-a-service (VaaS).

First will be the shifting energy mix and reduced carbon intensity

The story starts within our cities, where the need and benefit for decarbonization is the highest. Cities also offer two circumstances to spur decarbonization: a dense population of transportation assets that share a common infrastructure and the use-cases that are easier to decarbonize, such as last-mile delivery.

For commercial transportation, the future of energy can be summed up simply: zero carbon emissions, well-to-wheel. This is the destination, driven by societal pressure and environmental needs. This will require a shift in energy mix, and the journey to decarbonize commercial transportation will be rooted in a comprehensive technology roadmap with three primary components: zero emissions technologies such as battery electric and fuel cell electric; low to zero carbon fuels; and fuel agnostic powertrain platforms.

The 2020s will be shaped by two trends: those that will make the leap to zero, and the rise of low to zero carbon fuels. Busses that operate in urban areas are leading the sector in making the leap to zero carbon emission solutions, at the tail pipe. Transportation emissions will decrease by ~1.4% in the U.S. when the majority of buses switch to zero carbon emission technologies. There is another overlooked benefit of busses leading the way towards zero carbon emissions: fast-tracking innovations. As more of our bus partners choose zero-emission technologies, we find innovative solutions to meet their needs. These learnings ready zero carbon emission technologies for other transportation use-cases sooner. When it comes to the rise of low to zero carbon fuels, renewable natural gas, biodiesel blends, and hydrogen will lead the way, and internal combustion engine technology will see improved efficiencies. Meanwhile, we also plan to make our new engines compatible with increasing blends of low carbon fuels. During this era, hydrogen engines may also gain traction among line haul trucking. The key to hydrogen adoption will be the cost parity of hydrogen to diesel and infrastructure for refueling.

In the 2030s, we will begin to see a marked scale-up of new technologies and fuels. Battery-electric and fuel cell electric solutions will be viable for more use cases, especially with urban vehicles. Meanwhile, alternative fuels such as renewable natural gas (RNG), hydrogen, and biodiesel blends could have global footprints. At a regional level, varying local availability of different feedstocks will keep less popular low to zero carbon fuels in play. For bio-derived fuels, an interesting dynamic could play out during this decade. Given these limited stock bio-derived fuels could be the only viable path to decarbonize aviation, we could likely see a limited use of them in road transportation. The 2030s will also be the decade we will learn more about the viability of synthetic fuels for commercial transportation. Cost, availability, and efficiency of energy pathways will be three of the key factors to watch-out.

In the 2040s, electrification will become more viable even for today’s hard-to-electrify use cases. For example, heavy-duty and line-haul trucks are challenging to electrify today, mainly because the energy density of today’s batteries and limited recharging infrastructure would interfere with the truck’s job. This may become less and less of an obstacle as technology and infrastructure continue to advance. As the vehicle electrification eliminates tank-to-wheel emissions, well-to-tank emissions will get increasing spotlight. The good news is, by 2040, renewable electricity is forecasted to account for over 60% of our electricity1. To get there will take doubling the investments in electricity industry, as a share of GDP, towards $1.2 trillion a year by the second half of the 2020s, and strong public and private partnerships.


A safer, more reliable, and efficient transportation powered by software

The commercial transportation sector has already begun a rapid period of software development, helping fleets avoid accidents, optimize their fuel usage, and identify the best routes. Going forward, safety will continue to be paramount; meanwhile, connectivity and software development will revolutionize condition monitoring and performance optimization. This revolution will take place at three levels: asset-level, system-level, and intermodal.

In the near future, asset-level connectivity will continue to be under a spotlight. For example, Cummins Inc. is already testing game-changing prognostic algorithms that leverage massive amounts of data to move customers away from reactive service models to predictive, planned maintenance. The idea is this: sensors in the vehicle monitor the way equipment is performing and report abnormalities. This allows us to detect potential issues early enough that the necessary action can be taken, either through over-the-air updates or at the next scheduled maintenance, so unplanned downtime is reduced, increasing the availability and reliability of the equipment.

Soon, we will see an increased focus on system-level connectivity, where emphasis will expand to managing the complete fleet and system elements such as distribution centers and refueling stations. With this, we will see the sector continue to drive automated decision making through an increased reliance on harnessing real time data and computing capabilities.

Connectivity and software development to revolutionize commercial transportation in three levels

Finally, intermodal connectivity will connect different modes of transportation. This will create a commercial transportation eco-system where individual assets among different modes of transportation such as road, rail, sea, and air are connected and operate in harmony.

Evolving commercial transportation use-cases driven by autonomous driving and vehicle-as-a-service (VaaS)

One of the things common between autonomous trucking and VaaS is they may both drive an evolution among commercial transportation use-cases, but at different scales.

Autonomous trucking may have more profound impact on transportation, as more vehicles start to communicate with each other and with infrastructure elements such as traffic signals and depots. A key outcome of the rise of autonomous trucking could be the competitiveness of trucking against other modes of transportation such as rail. Autonomous trucking could also impact the financials of the industry; as these vehicles will be highly utilized, which could lead to shorter replenishment cycles and lower volumes of vehicles to own. As the safety considerations are getting addressed, this and the increasing focus on system-level connectivity will also continue to shape the role of the drivers in autonomous vehicles.

Vehicle-as-a-service, on the other hand, may have a limited impact in commercial transportation. VaaS, which mirrors the efficiency model used by Uber and Airbnb, primarily relies on under-utilized assets. Meanwhile, commercial transportation is inherently different from privately-owned cars and homes, where a wealth of these under-utilized assets exists. In commercial transportation, there is not a large reserve of under-utilized assets. Therefore, the impact of VaaS in commercial transportation could be limited to two areas. Firstly, fleets with under-utilized vehicles could see improved efficiencies with VaaS. Secondly, VaaS could also find traction with fleets where access to financial resources is limited. In these use cases, the increasing cost of vehicles, due to a combination of decarbonization, advanced connectivity and autonomous features, could make it more difficult for fleets to spend high capex upfront. For these fleets, VaaS could be the more economically-viable path forward. There may also be use-cases where a combination of VaaS and advanced autonomy (without a driver) could address chronic driver shortage issues. Meanwhile, for fleets where utilization rates are already very high and access to finances is not an issue, the impact of VaaS will be limited.

Commercial transportation is certainly in a period of rapid change, but the sector has always pushed hard to ensure it would meet the needs of society. Today, those needs are increasingly demanding, and technology will once again rise to the challenge.

References:

1 World Energy Outlook 2021 [PDF File]. International Energy Agency (2021). Retrieved from: https://www.iea.org/ 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT

Information provided in this article includes forward-looking statements, including statements regarding business forecasts, expectations, hopes, beliefs and intentions on strategies regarding the future. Actual future outcomes could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements because of a number of factors. Readers and investors are urged to consider these factors carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made herein are made only as of the date of this article and Cummins undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Srikanth Padmanabhan

Srikanth Padmanabhan

Srikanth Padmanabhan is Vice President and President of the Engine Business, the largest of Cummins’ four business segments. In this role, he pushes the boundaries of customer-focused innovation to position Cummins as the leading powertrain supplier of choice, with its portfolio ranging from diesel and natural gas to hybrid and electric powertrains. Read more about Srikanth's more than 30 years at Cummins.

bus in movement

Natural gas engines from Cummins can offer considerable longevity and reliability when properly maintained – so much so they are lasting decades and counting. 

Between 2008 and 2009, more than 3,730 Cummins B Gas Plus natural gas engines were procured through OEM partners Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland and delivered to the National Capital Region of India. Deployed into the Delhi transport Corporation’s (DTC) transit bus fleet, nearly 15 years later, the engines remain in service. To date, the buses have travelled approximately 5.4 billion kilometers – yes, billion – over the last 15 years.

bus

These engines prove what Maged Tadros, General Manager of Cummins Global Bus Business likes to tell his customers: “Adopting Cummins natural gas engines into your fleets can help achieve several operational and economic benefits.”

As the lowest total emissions engine on the market for trucks and buses, Cummins natural gas engines run on an abundant, low-cost fuel, with a maintenance free three-way catalyst exhaust treatment system. 

The need for reliable transportation is essential. Over the past 15 years, the Cummins B Gas Plus natural gas engines have helped more than 150 million Indian residents get to where they need to be and will continue to do so for the years to come.

click to view infographic
Click to view infographic

“Cummins engines are sought after globally for their world-class reliability and durability,” explained Puneet Jhawar, General Manager – Natural Gas. “We have learned a lot from our experience in India, among other countries adopting natural gas engines, learnings that have influenced our next generation of engines.”

Last year, Cummins announced the B6.7 natural gas engine will be available in India. Built for school buses, shuttles, and medium-duty trucks, the B6.7N boasts up to 240 hp/560 lbs-ft torque.

As the most mature, proven, and least disruptive alternative power technology available today, natural gas engines offer range flexibility and deliver a similar power, performance, and driving experience as diesel engines. Cummins natural gas engines help fleets reduced their overall environmental impact without significantly increasing the cost of operation or sacrificing performance or uptime.

The power of Cummins’ natural gas engines was on display at the India Auto Expo in Greater Noida Uttar Pradesh, India this month.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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As we near the end of 2022, we are celebrating some of the accomplishments that made this an exciting and innovative year for New Power. In the last 12 months, we expanded our technologies, grew as a business and continued to blaze the trail toward a zero-emissions future. Join us as we reflect on five wins from our New Power business unit that helped make this year truly spectacular.

snow scene
Click to view infographic

Welcome to our battery family, LFP

The newest member of our battery family is the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, which expands our support of electrified commercial vehicle applications. LFPs are faster charging and longer-life batteries, and are used in the medium duty truck and school bus markets. LFPs don’t require nickel or cobalt, making them more affordable and sustainable. With faster charging, higher power and a 10% longer life expectancy, Cummins LFP batteries are designed to meet the demands of continuous operation and have a lower total cost of ownership.

Green travel is on track: Our fuel cell systems are powering the world’s first 100%-hydrogen passenger train fleet

Holiday vacation plans? Visit us in Europe where we’re powering the world’s first fleet of hydrogen trains. The Alstom Coradia iLint trains are outfitted with Cummins fuel cell systems and run on the world’s first 100%-hydrogen-powered passenger train route. The trains convert hydrogen fuel into energy and turn existing, non-electrified infrastructure into zero-emission rail lines. These trains emit only steam and condensed water while in service and operate with low noise levels that improve both operator and passenger comfort.

The hydrogen fuel cell systems used in the trains are assembled at Cummins’ Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems Production Center in Herten, Germany. The facility was fully operational in 2022, enabling accelerated adoption of hydrogen technologies across Europe and the globe.

North America? Check. Europe? Check. We’ve expanded our New Power footprint across the globe

This year, we drove the green hydrogen economy forward across the globe by supporting new infrastructure projects and advancing government decarbonization goals.

We have broken ground on our new gigawatt PEM electrolyzer manufacturing plant in Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2023. The 200,000 sq. ft. facility will have the capacity to produce 500MW per year, scalable to more than 1GW per year.

Our Oevel, Belgium electrolyzer manufacturing facility expanded its capacity to 1GW thanks to the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) Hy2Tech program. IPCEI will help Cummins develop a new generation of PEM electrolyzer cell stacks to power large-scale hydrogen production systems. Operation began at our new Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems Production Center in Herten, Germany this year, which further enables the adoption of hydrogen technologies across Europe. 

We expanded our Mississauga, Ontario, Canada campus by adding a third facility dedicated to hydrogen technology. The new facility accommodates the company’s growing staff, hydrogen production capacity and new product development, putting Cummins in a better position to support the developing hydrogen market in North America.

The wait is over - our electrified powertrains made their official debut

We unveiled the Meritor 17Xe ePowertrain integrated with a Cummins battery system. The 17Xe is designed for heavy-duty trucks with the capacity to support 44 tons of gross combined weight. The assembly also features Cummins’ new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack. 

Our clean drivetrain options offer performance and packaging advantages for diverse applications across the globe.

Electrolyzers are stateside: We’re starting production in the U.S.

We announced that we'll begin producing electrolyzers in the U.S. for the first time at our Fridley, Minnesota facility. To drive the domestic green hydrogen economy forward, we'll start at 500 megawatts (MW) of manufacturing capacity annually, scalable to 1 gigawatt (GW) in the future. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

recipients holding trophies

Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) announced the 2022 recipients of the company’s most prestigious technical award, the Julius Perr Innovation award. Now in its 23rd year, the award recognizes employees who demonstrated excellence in innovation and technology by developing significant intellectual property for our products.

This year’s recipients are Cummins employees Richard Ancimer, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li, Tim Proctor, Michael Wilson, and Aleksey Yezerets. Acknowledgement also goes to Neal Currier, Ed Hodzen, and Vivek Sujan.

ABOUT THE INNOVATIONS

The first winning patents relate to the mitigation of sulfur accumulation on a selective reduction catalyst (SCR).

Ancimer, Currier, Kamasamudram, Kumar, and Yezerets developed methodologies to not only monitor this accumulation of sulfur but regenerate the catalysts faster, and at lower temperatures, through the synchronization of engine operating conditions during regeneration. Their work is employed on Cummins products, such as Euro IV/V/VI, EPA 2010, Tier IV, and in regions high sulfur fuel, and will likely continue playing a role in meeting future emission regulations.

Wilson developed a different approach targeted for the service channel in areas with high sulfur fuel, particularly the Euro V products in South America.  A key feature of his invention involves the deactivation of cylinders, and his work has been cited numerous times by non-Cummins patents.

For second winning technology, Hodzen, Li, Proctor, and Sujan invented the SmartTorque2 (ST2) feature, which is part of the award-winning Eaton Cummins SmartAdvantageTM  Powertrain. This feature automatically senses a variety of factors, such as grade and weight, and selects the optimum torque for performance and fuel economy. The invention was first in production in 2013 and has been a standard offering of the X15 product since 2017.

ABOUT THE AWARDS

This award was created to honor Dr. Julius Perr, who retired from Cummins in 1997 as Vice President - Fuel Systems.  Dr. Perr, who passed away in 2005, joined Cummins in 1958 after fleeing Communist Hungary.  He made Columbus, Indiana (USA) home and began a 41-year career as a Cummins engineer and leader.  In his lifetime, he was named the inventor or co-inventor of 186 granted patents and remains an inspiration to many in our industry.

2022 CEREMONY

The Julius Perr Innovation Awards Ceremony was held in-person with senior Technical Leaders, members of the Perr family, the 2022 Perr Award winners and their guests on October 18, 2022. Four winners, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li and Michael Wilson, were able to attend in person to receive their awards. The other three winners were unable to attend, but their award and special recognition have been provided to them separately.

REVIEW COMMITTEE 

Members of a selection committee, made up of leaders from across all business units, meet yearly to evaluate patents that have created significant value for our products. In 2022, over 1,100 patents were reviewed for consideration before selecting the final patent award recipients. Since 2000, only 84 patents have been selected for this prestigious award with each invention adding value to our brand promise of innovation and dependability.

Congratulations again to the 2022 recipients on the honor of winning the 2022 Julius Perr Innovation Award.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

illustration of home with generator

This article was authored by Chuck McClaugherty, Bear Electric, a Cummins Authorized Dealer.

Smart phones, smart TVs, virtual assistants, smart thermostats, smart locks and doorbells. Our homes are now filled with smart devices. Unfortunately, most of them become useless without power to run or recharge. This is why homeowners should consider installing one smart device above all other: a home standby generator. 

As a Cummins Authorized Dealer, I install a lot of Cummins QuietConnect™ home standby generators throughout Oregon. With increasingly severe weather, rolling blackouts, and aging power grids, I can tell you without a doubt a backup generator is a worthwhile investment. 

The best part of owning one of these smart devices? You don’t have to tell it when to turn on and off. It does it automatically. 

In a nutshell, here’s the process:

When we install a Cummins home standby generator, we also install a Cummins automatic transfer switch. This transfer switch constantly monitors the electric utility power coming into the home. If it detects a break in service, it will automatically disconnect the home from the electric utility line in a split second and turn on the Cummins generator to power the home instead. The generator is fed either by a natural gas line or by a propane tank.

While the Cummins generator is powering the home, the transfer switch will continue to monitor the electric utility line. Once it detects that power has been restored, it’ll automatically disconnect the generator from the home’s electrical system and reconnect the electric utility.

You don’t have to do anything. Nada. Zilch. The generator and the transfer switch do all the work. In some cases, you may not even realize there’s a power outage until you look out the window and see all your neighbor’s houses are dark.

Just as critical as having a Cummins Authorized Dealer professionally install your backup generator and transfer switch is making sure you choose the right size generator for your home. If it’s too small, the load won’t be able to power everything in the house. If it’s too big, you’ll consume extra natural gas or propane when you use it.

The easiest way to make sure you select the right size generator is to have your dealer do it for you. But if you want to get a feel for how much generator you’re going to need, Cummins has an excellent blog post on calculating the generator wattage you need or you can use the generator size calculator at Cummins.com.

We live in a world full of smart devices. Make sure you can keep yours up and running during power outages with a Cummins QuietConnect home standby generator. To find a dealer near you, use the Cummins dealer locator. Or, if you live in Oregon, just contact me at (503) 678-3417 or [email protected] 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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