Cummins Beats Tesla By Unveiling First Electric Truck

Cummins Beats Tesla By Unveiling First Electric Truck

With Tesla purportedly gearing up to introduce an all-electric semi next month, diesel engine supplier Cummins took some of the automaker's buzz away on Tuesday, revealed an all-electric prototype truck of its own.

Cummins also showed off new fully-electric Class 7 "technical demonstrator" tractor, designed for applications such as urban delivery, port drayage and terminal handling. With a range of 100 miles, Cummins is positioning the AEOS as a short haul truck for inter-city transport. An extended-range version is also being developed with a 300-mile range thanks to a diesel engine serving as the range extender. "End-users will find the Cummins Near-Zero natural gas engine is an equivalent performance option to diesel and like the latest clean-diesel have little to no emissions for customers looking to minimise emissions footprint", it says.

Tesla has asked Nevada to test a platoon of semi trucks, with one lead vehicle automatically followed by other trucks.

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Being engine experts as opposed to whole vehicle developers, Cummins has wisely tapped the auto industry engineering and development gurus at Roush Industries to help develop the truck, which helps explain how production is planned for as early as 2019.

Looking to the future, Cummins hopes to reduce the charging time to 20 minutes by 2020 as battery technology improves.

Cummins has no plans to assemble the trucks, but instead aims to be a supplier of the battery and driveline. The semi-truck will use a "state-of-the art battery pack offering, redefining energy-efficiency and density capabilities". For example, drag is reduced by eliminating the radiator grille and replacing side mirrors with an in-dash camera system. The weight of the electric powertrain is roughly equal to that of the engine, aftertreatment, transmission and fuel tank. That solution will stretch range to 300 miles between plugs and still cut emissions versus diesel-hybrid trucks by around 50 percent. Cummins has offered no details on that new diesel engine.

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