It Turns Out Cummins Has Been Working on an Electric Semi Too

By the sounds of it, the platform might even beat Tesla to market.

via Cummins

Tesla take note: Diesel powerhouse Cummins has been working on a surprise of its own. Despite being more known for rollin' coal, the diesel power plant manufacturer surprised press today by unveiling the fruits of its alternative fuel division's labor. Meet the all-electric Aeos.

Although the press release was filled with big tech buzz words like "cloud-based solutions" and "big data analysis", it didn't include much information about the vehicle. Other sources such as Forbes went into more details about the truck - and its actually pretty impressive for something so big and battery-powered. The truck itself packs a rather large 140 kWh battery, which Cummins claims redefines "energy-efficiency and density capabilities for the EV market". Capable of a one-hour recharge, the truck will be able to travel up to 300 miles with an accessory on-board diesel generator (which kind of negates the "all-electric" aspect of the truck). This is also the same amount of range expected out of the Tesla semi, though it's not expected to use any sort of fossil-fuel to achieve it.

These new technological innovations build on our 100-year legacy of bringing the best solutions to our customers, driving their success and meeting the evolving demands of their industries and markets

-Jennifer Rumsey, Cummins CTO

By 2020, Cummins hopes to cut down the time to fully charge the truck to a mere 20 minutes, which would be a huge leap compared to even the fastest charging Teslas. The manufacturer claims a 50% savings on fuel, all of which will be possible due to the power train it develops - not trucks themselves. Although Cummins has developed a proof-of-concept truck to display their new electric development, they will not be manufacturing full vehicles. Instead they will be sourcing battery cells, from an unknown entity (possible from Tesla's Gigafactory, due to their sheer output), building the motors and battery packs, and supplying them to manufacturers. Could this be why Daimler, a notoriously-heavy user of Cummins platforms, wasn't worried about the Tesla solution?

Competition is good, especially when it's in an industry which can be heavily disrupted by automation or cost saving efforts like alternative fuels. Using the technology developed by Cummins, more manufacturers will be able to reduce freight costs and continue making further developments. Now, only time will reveal what comes next.