Cummins starts developing electric vehicles

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US powertrain manufacturer Cummins recently revealed its all-electric semi tractor concept. The company called the semitrailer truck a concept that could arrive at the end of this decade.

Cummins is confident that at least the powertrain will be ready for production by that time, featuring batteries  with 100 miles of range. But a long-range version of the Urban Hauler Tractor is already under development Cummins claims. These powertrains are not only suitable for trucks, but also for buses.

Additionally, a diesel engine could be fitted onboard to act as a range extender for the electric powertrain. The Urban Hauler Tractor weighs 18,000 pounds, and its 140-kilowatt-hour battery pack weighs roughly the same as a traditional 12-liter diesel engine.

Cummins is also experimenting with regenerative braking and solar panels as possible ways to extend the electric semi’s range. The conceptual truck will largely be used as an educational project for Cummins, which says advances in electric vehicles are occurring rapidly.

By the time the Urban Hauler Tractor is ready for production, the company believes that its battery pack could be charged in just 20 minutes; today’s fast-charging stations would take an hour.

Cummins offers at this moment near-zero-emission natural-gas engines for trucks and buses, next to their diesel ranges.