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Cummins first with electric truck?

by David Zatz on

Tesla is always quick to announce far-off products, often making old technologies seem new (such as solar roof shingles and vacuum-tube trains). Cummins, though, has scooped Tesla by showing an electric commercial truck before the splashy electric automaker.

Cummins is already there, though. It has a Class 7 heavy duty truck cab, with a 100 mile range, 22-ton trailer capacity, and one-hour recharge time, which will be sold in 2019. The same powertrain — centered around a 140 kWh battery pack — can be used for buses.

Cummins electric truck

With extra power packs, the truck can achieve a 300 mile range. Cummins said they hoped to reduce recharge times to 20 minutes by 2020, which would make the truck useful for a wider range of buyers. They also plan an extended range version, using a diesel engine to recharge the battery; this would, according to Cummins, provide a 300 mile range, and use half the fuel of a comparable diesel hybrid.

An engine maker, Cummins is only supplying powertrains to other companies, using batteries from an unspecified provider. The Tesla reveal, which had been hinted at for some time, is planned for a few weeks from now, and is to have a 200-300 mile range. Neither company provided guidance on costs.

Cummins is known for its diesel engines, used in numerous applications including Ram and Nissan pickups, but also produces natural gas engines. The company also announced two new efficient diesels, the X12 and X15; and plans for a “revolutionary” heavy duty diesel in 2022.

The X12 is unlikely to be used by Ram, with at least 1,250 pound feet of torque, a 2,050 pound weight, and 10-13 liter size.  The X15, as one might expect, is even bigger, and designed for “hauling 80,000 pounds through the Rockies.” Likewise, the new electric powertrain is likely far too large, heavy, and expensive for Ram — at least, while their trucks top out in Class 5.

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