The future of commercial transportation

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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.

Cummins Turbo Technologies gears up to launch the 8th Generation HolsetTM Series 400 Variable Geometry Turbocharger

8th generation HE400VGT

As emission regulations become more stringent, Cummins Turbo Technologies (CTT) is committed to helping customers reduce emissions and advance fuel economy through innovative new air handling technologies.

Built on 70 years of innovation and dependability, CTT and Holset have introduced a wide range of industry leading air handling technologies. In 2021, CTT launched the 7th generation 400 series Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) to help engine manufacturers meet future emission standards and offer best in class fuel economy. At Cummins, innovation never stops as we continue to advance our current technologies, while developing new ones. With this philosophy in mind, CTT is now preparing to introduce the 8th generation HE400VGT. It is specifically engineered to have top of class performance, reliability and durability for the 10-15L heavy-duty truck market.  

CTT has made significant improvements in turbocharger performance with its latest generation of products. The 8th generation turbocharger will have 5 percent improved efficiency over the previous 7th generation turbo.

In addition to offering improved turbocharger efficiency, which helps customers in engine downsizing, the HE400VGT will have a better transient response, enhanced compressor side oil leak robustness and dual sourcing on key components for supply chain flexibility.

Key highlights of the Holset HE400VGT include a new bearing system and near zero clearances to enhance performance and transient response. These enhancements are achieved by tighter clearances on the compressor stage, lower radial movement on the turbine stage, improved surface finish and new aero designs.

Scheduled to be launched in 2024, this turbocharger incorporates a next generation smart electric actuator and speed sensor with the latest chipset to enhance performance and durability. The dual sourcing strategy helps mitigate any unforeseen electronics shortages that have recently plagued the industry.

Along with the performance enhancements, the latest generation turbocharger will offer best-in-class performance for on-highway heavy-duty trucks coupled with improved fuel economy at key vehicle running points.

“CTT has incorporated exciting new technologies in our latest HE400VGT to help engine customers meet strict emissions requirements and reduce their total cost of ownership,” said Matthew Franklin, Director – Product Management & Marketing. As customers establish their strategies for upcoming emission regulations, CTT continues to build on the success of previous turbocharger launches to deliver innovative products that meet the challenges of our customers’ engine development needs without compromising on performance. 

Want to learn more about CTT’s products and technical innovation? Sign up for our quarterly newsletter today.

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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.

Rebuild masterstroke pays off for miners

belt buckle with text reading "Cummins 300th QSK60 MCRS Upgrade"

A masterstroke by Cummins engineers in Australia and the US has resulted in major cost reduction and environmental benefits for mining companies electing to rebuild their QSK60 engines under a special upgrade program.

The engineers focused on rebuild possibilities for the early generation QSK60, and how it could be upgraded to the latest diesel technology at overhaul time with no major change to the base 60-litre V16 design – a feat that eluded other engine manufacturers.

The key technology upgrade is to fuel injection, with the early unit injection system (HPI) replaced with the high-pressure modular common rail system (MCRS) that is now featured on all of Cummins’ latest generation high horsepower engines.

The 300th upgraded engine, rated at 2700 hp, recently rolled off the production line at the Cummins Master Rebuild Centre in Brisbane, highlighting yet another successful step in the evolution of the QSK60 and why it is the foremost high-horsepower diesel engine globally in mobile mining equipment.

“Reduced fuel consumption and longer life-to-overhaul are keys to lower total cost of ownership, and they were the initial aims behind the engineering of the upgrade program for the QSK60,” says Greg Field, mining business development manager for Cummins Asia Pacific.

“Innovation is at the core of Cummins’ long history, and it has certainly played its part in the QSK60 rebuild options we can offer our mining customers.”

The bottom line is impressive: Diesel particulate emissions are slashed by up to 63% through in-cylinder combustion technology with no aftertreatment. There’s also a plus for maintenance with less soot loading in the oil.

Fuel savings up to 5% are consistently reported in the field for significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction, while life-to-overhaul is extended by 10%, translating to fuel consumption of more than 4.0 million liters before rebuild is required.

Apart from the fuel system upgrade to MCRS, the QSK60 with single-stage turbocharging also features other Cummins innovations in combustion technology that were engineered for Tier 4 Final and Stage V emissions compliance, the most stringent off-highway emission standards in the world.

The rebuild upgrade package can be applied to the two variants of the QSK60 – one with single-stage turbocharging (known as ‘Advantage’) which can be rated from 1785 to 2700 hp, the other with two-stage turbocharging which can be rated at 2700, 2850 or 3000 hp.

The 300th upgraded QSK60 went to Boggabri Coal in the NSW Gunnedah Basin for installation in a Komatsu 930E haul truck. The engine has proved its worth in both coal and iron ore mining in Australia.

yellow QSK60 engine

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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.

Hurricane Sally no match for Florida couple and their home standby generator

Family with dog standing next to Cummins home standby generator

Three months. That’s how little time Macy and Sherry Summers had between the installation of their new Cummins QuietConnect™ home standby generator and its first major test: the arrival of Hurricane Sally.

The Category-2 hurricane stalled over the Pensacola, Fla. area for nearly 12 hours in September 2020, bringing 110-mph winds, torrential rain and major power outages. While many of their neighbors worried about their home flooding during the storm, the Summers were secure, knowing their Cummins generator would help pull them through.

“I was very concerned that if too much water got near the house, it could come in,” said Macy. “Without power, we couldn’t run our pumps, we couldn’t take the water away from our pool. That was the big fear for me.”

The new Cummins generator came through big time, powering their home and three sump pumps during the storm and running nearly 90 hours with one break for an oil change before power was restored.

Its performance was no surprise for Macy, a former Lockheed Martin engineer. Upon moving permanently into the home in 2019, he used his research acumen to find the best way to power their home through a storm. After 18 months, he decided on a Cummins QuietConnect Home Standby Generator because of the brand reputation, build quality and support.

“The brand was really important to us. We wanted to have a good support system from a large company we knew would be there if we needed it. It turns out that Cummins was the right one for us,” said Macy.

“I would certainly recommend Cummins over the brands that most people have heard of. Cummins is a stronger solution for somebody who wants that reliability.”

For the installation, the Summers contracted with Emergency Standby Power, their local Cummins dealer in nearby Fort Walton Beach, which also services and maintains the generator for them.

Said Raul Perez who oversees generator installations for Emergency Standby Power, “We try to partner with a product we know is going to be reliable that we’re comfortable servicing, that we’re comfortable installing and that we’re comfortable standing behind. That means a lot. We do like working with Cummins, because when we call and we need support, they’re always there.”

According to Sherry, the QuietConnect generator lives up to its name. “It’s amazing that when we hear it come on, we’ll always say, ‘Oh, there’s the generator. The power must be off.’ We just keep going about whatever we’re doing,” she said. 

After the hurricane, the Summers have complete confidence in their Cummins generator. Sherry says she no longer worries about food spoiling, keeping the house cool and keeping the pool pumps running. 

Macy adds, “If a hurricane comes, my peace of mind really is around these systems we’ve put in to protect our home. They’ll now have constant power, enabled by the generator.”

Find the perfect generator for your home by visiting Cummins generator size calculator.


To hear the Summers tell their own story, watch the video of them below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lv9jxX7PFGU

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.

Cummins launches new twinpack rental power diesel generator

Cummins logo at the entrance of Fridley plant

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) has launched a new 1MW twinpack rental generator, the C1000D6RE, which offers a competitive rental power solution for a diverse range of applications throughout North America. Manufactured by Cummins, a company that has been synonymous with technology, reliability and service since 1919, the new C1000D6RE model will be built in Fridley, Minnesota.

As a twinpack, the C1000D6RE combines two Cummins 15L, 500kW generators into a single, 40ft power unit, complete with aftertreatment. This enables the C1000D6RE to meet Tier 4 final emissions regulation while delivering reliable, high output performance. The generator can be used in parallel with other rental power solutions and is capable of masterless load demand.

The C1000D6RE offers a 1000kW power rating as per ISO 8528 and is powered by 2 x U.S Tier 4 Final certified QSX15 Cummins engines. The QSX15 engine meets the stringent EPA standards without the need of a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) which offers ease of serviceability, lower emissions and greater performance.

A new heavy-duty trailer and hitch design ensures even greater reliability for rugged mobile power applications. The generator’s container is capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions, while a full sound attenuation package minimizes the generator’s noise levels. For faster and cleaner oil changes, a ‘Quick Fit’ oil evacuation system option is also provided.

Weighing in at 69,000lbs with fuel, the C1000D6RE comes equipped with a front-end stabilizer and mobile air-ride to reduce the impacts of travel, minimizing potential down time.

The C1000D6RE is suitable for use across a wide range of large-scale industries requiring rental power, including: construction sites, emergency power, large scale events, industrial buildings and utilities located in remote locations or urban areas.

John Gibbons, Rental Power Markets Director at Cummins, said: “We’ve listened to our customers and developed the C1000DR6RE specifically to meet their demands. We also wanted to prioritize the production of a generator that continues to provide reliable power solutions, regardless of climate, location or industry. We believe this product will provide markets with greater reliability, improved performance and increased flexibility.” 

The 1MW twinpack model can be used for a diverse range of industries requiring mobile power; ranging from construction sites, industrial buildings and utilities located in remote locations or urban areas. The remote start and stop contact functionality allows the generator set to be switched on and off upon demand without the need of local maintenance support. As a result, customers can expect more stability, greater uptime and lower labor costs leading to lower total cost of ownership.

To ensure continued performance, Cummins offers customers servicing and maintenance of its mobile power generator range. Cummins aftermarket capabilities are provided through a network of over 200 local sales and service locations across North America; supported by a global system of service technicians, engineers and part distribution centers, experienced in offering mobile power solutions to fit any power requirement.

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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