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Cummins Announces Plans For First All-electric Powertrains

During a recent teleconference, Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger stated unequivocally, “We will be in the market with fully electrified products in 2019.” The first electrified powertrains are initially intended for short-haul vehicles like delivery vehicles and metro buses. In 2020, the company intends to introduce electric products with the capacity to perform over greater distances or longer periods, like commercial trucks, forklifts, mining equipment and other off-highway vehicles.

 

Diesel’s Staying Power Affirmed

 

The Indianapolis Business Journal quoted Jennifer Rumsey, Cummins’ Chief Technical Officer, as saying, “We see a trend away from diesel, and we will continue to evolve.” However, while the Columbus, Ohio-based company is devoting R&D to electric powertrains, it still sees a decades-long future for diesel. Ultimately, diesel’s staying power will very much depend on technological breakthroughs, environmental considerations and the cost of fuel. At the same time, electric vehicles are increasingly viable as battery and related costs plummet.

 

Significant R&D Investment

Cummins also continues to look at the viability of alternative fuels, including hydrogen, biofuels and various synthetic formulations. In the past year, overall R&D consumed $616 million of Cummins’ $17.5 billion in sales, or 3.5 percent. While it invests some of these dollars in electric technologies, it also focuses on advancing diesel, developing telematics other digital products.

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