Cummins To Develop Class 6 Commercial-Duty Plug-In Hybrid Diesel Truck Powertrain

APR 10 2016 BY MARK KANE 5

Cummins has recognized the benefits of a plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle project that would cut fuel consumption in half compared to conventional Class 6 vehicles.

Well, Cummins realized it with the help of a $4.5 million incentive granted by the U.S. Department of Energy, but they still got there in the end.


Cummins logo already begs to change it into a plug

A Class 6 plug-in hybrid (typical examples include school buses, or single axle work trucks) with weights of approximately 19,000 to 26,000 pounds are vehicles that we sure would like to see electrified, as heavy duty image would also start to influence the thinking into the much coveted “light truck” segment

Judging from the press release, we’d wager that Cummins is considering an all-electric drive with range-extender (an internal combustion engine used only to power generator).

“With their expertise in internal combustion engines and related products, Cummins 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, using advanced vehicle controls, with the electrified powertrain and other applicable technologies.

Ultimately, the researchers aim to demonstrate improved fuel consumption and state of the art drivability and performance regardless of environmental conditions.

Cummins is partnering with PACCAR on the project, and the full team includes representatives from The Ohio State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.”

“The reduction of fuel consumption will be met or exceeded during a wide-range of drive cycles designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of commercial fleet operators. The fuel reduction goals will be achieved through the use of an electrified vehicle powertrain, optimization of the internal combustion engine operation, and other technologies including intelligent transportation systems and electronic braking.”

Wayne Eckerle, Vice President, Research and Technology, Cummins Inc. said:

“The close integration and control of the electrified powertrain with an appropriately selected engine is critically important to developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system. We believe that through the team’s efforts we can soon make these innovations commercially available, which has the potential to translate into substantial savings annually per vehicle, helping our customers and the environment.”

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5 Comments on "Cummins To Develop Class 6 Commercial-Duty Plug-In Hybrid Diesel Truck Powertrain"

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Since Cummins makes plenty of standby diesel generators, it doesn’t take much imagination to combine an AC charger with an AC generator (if the plug-in coincidentally matches the size of the generator, then that is what they have done).

Then they can pocket the ‘development money’ since there wasn’t very much to develop.

But it would be nice to see some quiet school busses.

Jean-François Bourdon

Quiet school busses ? No need to wait ! Lion Bus in St-Jérôme, Québec is already making and selling some with 75-mile range :

The Cummins Ethos E-85 engine would be a good choice for this. It has a lot of power in a smaller lighter weight engine that produces very low emissions. Then this drivetrain would be very clean and use almost no petroleum at all. I know that E85 is still not available everywhere, but many municipalities have their own tanks for city trucks and cars. I’m sure that many school districts have their own tanks also.

All new commercial duty vehicles should be plug in hybrids commercial and have forward collision warning technology to help drowsy drivers.

It would not be hard to imagine a Class 6 truck with an electric powertrain and a range extender using propane or natural gas, to further boost cleanliness beyond using diesel. Just last week I drove a propane powered Chevy Cruze and found it indistinguishable from the petroleum equivalent.