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Tesla Isn't the Only One Working on an All-Electric Semi-Truck

31 August 2017

To round out the company's expert capabilities in powertrain design, Cummins also revealed, for the first time ever, a fully electric class 7 demonstration Urban Hauler Tractor.

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The truck is expected to have a maximum payload of 44,000 pounds, with a battery's capacity is 140 kilowatt-hours, which is enough for about 100 miles of range, making it more suitable for local deliveries. For starters, the range doesn't match Tesla's, which is presumably capable of reaching 321-483 kilometers (200-300 miles) on a single charge. Cummins also says it will introduce a new heavy-duty diesel engine in 2022. While both don't yet match the 1610-kilometer (1000-mile) range of traditional semis, Tesla can certainly deliver more than the AEOS - the latter can work perfectly well for inner-city deliveries.

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Being engine experts as opposed to whole vehicle developers, Cummins has wisely tapped the auto industry engineering and development gurus at Roush Industries to help develop the truck, which helps explain how production is planned for as early as 2019. The company won't actually be manufacturing trucks - instead, Cummins will supply the battery and driveline system to truck makers to include in their vehicles. Power-saving and drag-reducing features like roof-mounted solar panels, regenerative braking and low rolling resistance tires can increase that range even more. "This truck enables us to demonstrate that electrified powertrains will be viable".

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According to CNET, Cummins will also offer a range-extender version of the concept truck, which will use a diesel engine to recharge the battery on the fly. The company also says that it has a near-zero natural gas engine and super efficient diesel engines called the X12 and X15. Cummins is a company that has been around for almost 100 years, and this reveal telegraphs the company's intention to wade into battle with a new generation of transportation startups like Nikola Motor Company and electric-bus company Proterra for the future of freight.

Tesla Isn't the Only One Working on an All-Electric Semi-Truck