Engine maker Cummins says it has jumped out in front of Tesla in the race to develop an all-electric engine for large trucks.
Cummins Inc. on Tuesday unveiled what the company is billing as the first of its kind zero-emissions truck that runs entirely on electricity. The 18,000-pound truck, built by Roush, is designed to be used for local deliveries, such as moving products between warehouses and stores. It has a maximum payload of 44,000 pounds and takes one hour to charge.
Besides Tesla, Cummins joins a raft of other makers, including big names like Ford, that are experimenting or developing electric trucks or buses.
Cummins’ demonstration, held at its technology center in Columbus, comes as the company is making a push to diversify its powertrains. Cummins is best known for making diesel engines, but it has been expanding its natural gas products and moving toward electric engines.
Cummins in June announced that it would start producing electric powertrains for buses by 2019. The Tuesday unveiling of AEOS — named for a four-winged horse that drove the chariot of the sun god in Greek mythology — was another major step in Cummins’ evolution, company officials said.
“Initially, these products will service the transit bus market, but this is just the beginning,” said Julie Furber, Cummins’ executive director of electrification. “We are going to take electrification to all our markets and the applications that we serve when the time is right. This truck enables us to demonstrate that electrified powertrains will be viable.”
While Cummins might be the first company to show off an all-electric truck, its lead over Tesla and other startups might not last for long.