Cummins says it will develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle — these are typically buses or single-axle work trucks — that reduces fuel consumption by at least 50 percent compared to conventional medium-duty trucks.
This is thanks to a $4.5 million grant, awarded by the US Department of Energy, to a team led by Cummins, in partnership with truck manufacturer PACCAR (parent company of Kenworth, Peterbilt and others), The Ohio State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.
Cummins says its researchers will optimize the powertrain by selecting the engine with the best architecture to use as an electric commercial vehicle range extender, using the engine to manage the charge level of the all-electric drive battery pack. The range extender will be integrated with the electrified powertrain and other applicable technologies.
The vehicle will meet these fuel reduction goals by using an electrified vehicle powertrain, optimizing the internal combustion engine operation, and other technologies including intelligent transportation systems and electronic braking.
Wayne Eckerle, Cummins vice president, research and technology, says the team believes it can make a plug-in hybrid truck commercially available “soon,” and says such a vehicle “ has the potential to translate into substantial savings annually per vehicle.”
Cummins will also soon debut a “near-zero NOx” engine for medium-duty trucks and busses. The Cummins Westport natural gas engine — the ISL G NZ — is a project of the joint venture between the two engine developers.
The Cummins Westport engine’s emissions will be 90 percent lower than the current EPA NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr. The California Air Resources Board has defined this certified near-zero emissions level as equivalent to a 100 percent battery truck using electricity from a modern combined cycle natural gas power plant. The new natural gas engine will also meet the 2017 EPA greenhouse gas emission requirements with a 9 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction from the current ISL G.
Previously scheduled for launch at the end of the year, the company will start taking orders for the new engine this month, Forbes reports.
The Cummins Westport natural gas engine aims to help trucking companies meet federal emissions standards for trucks beginning with model year 2023.
The EPA and US Department of Transportation adopted the first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and engines built for model years 2014 to 2018 — the so-called phase 1 standards — in 2011. Last summer they released the phase 2 standards for trucks beginning with model year 2019 that would achieve emissions cuts through new technologies.