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THE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & LifestyleTHE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & Lifestyle

Technology

Technology

Cummins unveils fully-electric semi mere weeks before Tesla

Tuesday, Cummins, an Indiana-based manufacturer of diesel and natural gas engines for commercial trucks, unveiled a fully-operational, one-hundred-percent electric truck cab, forbes.com reports. The company plans to begin selling the battery systems that power the vehicle to commercial truck fleets and bus operators in 2019.

Cummins calls the cab AEOS, Forbes says, after one of the four-winged horses who pulls the chariot of the sun god, Helios, in Greek mythology.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYYk5kbg5Re/

The cab Cummins showed weighs 18,000 pounds (nine tons) and can haul up to 22 tons. A 140 kWh battery pack, which charges in about an hour, gives the vehicle a range of 100 miles. Cummins aims to cut the charging time down to 20 minutes by 2020.

Given their range, though, AEOS-powered vehicles will perform urban deliveries and short-haul trips.

Cummins CEO Thomas Linebarger said per Forbes that an electric eighteen-wheeler is not yet viable because an electric system cannot support the weight eighteen-wheelers haul, nor the distances they travel. However, Linebarger notes that electric propulsion technology is moving forward at such a pace that impracticalities are fast becoming realities.

“There are more technologies coming into economic relevance than we’ve seen in my career, ever,” Linebarger said per Forbes.

And Linebarger plans to keep his company on the cutting edge as the industry roars ahead.

“This is what we do,” he said, per Forbes. “We feel we do better when technologies are shifting.”

Forbes notes that Cummins was quick to adapt as environmental regulations began to tighten.

Cummins intends to offer an extended-range version of AEOS by 2020. That system will be a hybrid, and its diesel engine will double as an onboard generator, allowing for a range of 300 miles. The extended-range model will boast 50 percent better fuel emissions than any diesel hybrid available today.

Though Cummins has been developing electric powertrains and fuel cells for about 10 years, the company will buy the fuel cells from an unidentified third-party. It will not build vehicles in-house but rather will sell the AEOS system to companies that do. Those companies will install the system into their trucks.

Cummins’s announcement comes just weeks before Tesla plans to unveil its own electric hauler, which will probably employ some degree of autonomous driving technology. Tesla’s reveal should come sometime next month, according to a tweet by CEO Elon Musk.

Reuters speculated last week that Tesla’s semi will have a range of between 200 and 300 miles per charge, meaning it will qualify as a “long-haul” vehicle. Tesla declined to confirm or deny Reuters’ report regarding the truck’s range, and Scott Perry, an executive at fleet operator Ryder Systems, told Reuters he would not “count [Tesla] out for having a strategy for longer distances or ranges.”

If Tesla’s truck does achieve a range of 200 or 300 miles, its distance capabilities will be but a shadow of those of today’s conventional diesel trucks, which, according to Reuters, can travel as many as 1,000 miles on one tank of fuel.

A few companies besides Cummins and Tesla are also building large, electric vehicles. Proterra is testing fully electric buses meant to revolutionize public transport, and Nikola Motor Company is developing a pair of hydrogen-powered semis with ranges of up to 1,200 miles and a 15-minute refill time.

“All those competitors we take very seriously,” Linebarger said. “They’re innovative, well-funded and have a technology mindset, much like Cummins.”

Linebarger also notes, though, that the shift into a world in which the roads are full of 100 percent electric vehicles will be gradual, and that the AEOS will not meet every customer’s needs.

“We know that we cannot have one solution for everybody,” he said, per Forbes. ”We need to make sure we have the right technology for the right application. Even if the electrified power train replaces the internal combustion engine completely, that’s still a 20- to 25-year transition period customers have to manage through. If we have good technology, they’ll want to buy it from us.”

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons


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