Diesel engine giant Cummins has announced it will launch a fully electric powertrain system by the end of 2019 with an extended range version the following year.
Cummins’ executive director of electrification business development, Julie Furber made the declaration via teleconference last week and says the market is adapting to electric technology.
“We believe that we know some things about electrification that maybe others don’t,” Furber said.
“The first commercial markets that we see moving are transit bus, pick-up and delivery, and material handling. And then longer term, we believe that electrified power will come to all of our markets in one way shape or form, but not tomorrow, and not next year, despite all the chatter you may be hearing.”
The push towards electrification is being driven by regulations on emissions levels, noise reduction and social pressures for sustainability.
CEO and chairman of Cummins, Tom Linebarger, confirmed there was an increase in investment to the new technology but the company is also maintaining its investment in diesel technology.
“We are a technology company. Technology, innovation and empower is what we do. The trucking industry was built on the back of Cummins,” he said.
“There’s no question that electrification is here and we have real experience in this market. Innovation for long-term growth is our focus today. We will actively look for ways to disrupt ourselves, rather than allow others to disrupt us.”
Furber, who leads the company’s electrification unit which was launched earlier this year, said cost for electric vehicles is coming down and making it more viable.
According to chief technical officer Jennifer Rumsey, the move to alternative power plants is essential, but will not replace the company’s core products.
“We believe this continued focus on the engine system is critical but a broader focus on the power system is necessary to provide a market-leading solution to our customers,” Rumsey said.
Rumsey highlighted the Eaton-Cummins automated transmissions technology as a key area of focus for the company, which will design, develop, and sell current and future automated transmission for medium- and heavy-duty applications globally.
“While we believe it’s important not to lose our focus on the diesel power system, we also recognise the importance of developing alternative energy options.”