Cummins may announce at Busworld its first electrified powertrain for 2019, a new internal organization designed to streamline innovation called Digital Accelerator and an increased investment in alternative power technologies like electrification, fuel cells and hydrogen.
Cummins sees the urban market as the first adopter with the highest need for electrified powertrains to reduce emissions. While the company has been researching electric power sources for over a decade, it believes now is the time to release this option to customers as the component prices have finally reduced to become a viable option for specific duty cycles. Competition in electric powertrain options for the commercial and industrial markets is increasing from new competitors such as Tesla and Uber, but Cummins believes it can continue to lead due to its history of knowing and delivering on customers’ needs for the past century.
Not only is electric powertrain an area of focus for Cummins, but other digital technologies are becoming another core competency going forward. Telematics have been on diesel engines for years, but increases in digital monitoring have caused escalated data production and analytics needs. Sherry Aaholm, Cummins Chief Information Officer, is leading the Digital Accelerator organization to speed up commercialization of concepts within the company. A separate company called ZED Connect was also recently launched by Cummins to develop an electronic logging device (ELD) for any trucking customer, not just their own.
Cummins is backing the claim of bringing new technologies to market with an increased investment in Research and Development. Other alternative power sources like proton exchange membrane (PEM) and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technologies are being researched. They partnered with Microsoft to test whether a fuel cell power source was viable for a data center in Seattle, which led the computer giant to estimate that this could double the energy efficiency of the Cloud with this model.
Going forward, Cummins is expanding its portfolio of power options to identify the best choice for customers based on duty cycle and emissions requirements—whether natural gas, fuel cell, electric or diesel. The company recognizes the spectrum of customers worldwide and is positioning itself to continue to be a leader in the commercial and industrial markets beyond being.
Will they bring it to Busworld Europe in October? Wait and see.