By on June 18, 2017

2017 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty, Image: FCA

It’s hard to hear the name Cummins and not immediately think of a Ram pickup struggling valiantly to pull a gnarled tree stump out of the unyielding earth. Certainly, the company’s diesel inline-six and V8 engines are to the truck world what Nike is to professional sports.

While Cummins’ fossil fuel-powered engines and power systems show no signs of becoming passé, a company ignores the future at its own peril. The green revolution is afoot, we’re told, and internal combustion power will one day occupy the niche currently inhabited by electric propulsion. With this in mind, Cummins has a plan.

During a teleconference Thursday, company executives outlined what the near future holds.

“As a global power leader for the commercial and industrial markets we serve, we are better positioned than any other company to win in new and emerging technologies,” said Tom Linebarger, Cummins Chairman and CEO. “Over the past 100 years, our ability to innovate and adapt has fueled our success and we are confident we are on the right path to do it again at this critical juncture. We are prepared to provide a range of power technologies to our customers from diesel and natural gas to fully electric and hybrid powertrains to ensure they always have the best solution for their application.”

That 6.7-liter inline-six turbo diesel in your Ram work truck (or oil-burning 5.0-liter V8 in your Nissan Titan) won’t disappear overnight. The company claims it will continue to focus on diesel engines as a core component of its business model, while pouring more R&D dollars into green tech. Cummins first went down this road with its natural gas-powered engines.

If future truck owners want it, Cummins wants to supply it.

So great is the urge to be out in front, the company is considering teaming up with others. Cummins hopes to develop a range of products — electric energy storage systems, power electronics and traction motor systems — for commercial applications.

“Cummins will begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019, including battery electric and plug-in hybrids,” the company said in a statement. Calling these “first steps” just the beginning, Cummins claims to be working on gasoline engines which feature diesel-like performance, as well as a number of “exploratory” fuel cell projects.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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60 Comments on “Future-proofing: Cummins Wants to Sell You More Than Just Diesels...”


  • avatar
    Asdf

    With the apparent stagnation in battery technology development (as witnessed by the extremely long charging time and the extremely short ranges of current EVs, which is a disgrace considering how long EVs have been on the market, they should have surpassed ICE-powered cars ages ago), I don’t think Cummins has anything to worry about. Elon Musk, on the other hand, needs to figure out how to deal with the imminent bankruptcy of Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Batteries have been around for several hundred years. Different chemistries have been played with since the beginning. How is it surprising that progress has been slow. I do not expect a break through just slow and steady progresses as seen in any mature field.

      That said, Cummins is wise to do this. It shows they are not going to allow a potential game changer to come in and kill their profit center. As long as they balance their investment they will do well. Too little investment and its money down the drain as others race ahead. Too much and it will take away from their need to stay ahead of others in their core markets while investing is a possible loser technology.

      And yes Telsa should be worried because if major players decide this is where the market is going Tesla will have a hard time competing. I expect ZF, Allison, Borg Warner and others to also join Cummins, Panasonic, LG, GE and others in the EV field as suppliers. These companies will bring productivity and cost discipline to the field, two items Tesla has not seemed interested in.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “With the apparent stagnation in battery technology development …”
      — There is no stagnation; battery technology continues to improve, albeit at a rate not much better than that of ICEs themselves;

      “(as witnessed by the extremely long charging time and the extremely short ranges of current EVs,…”
      — Which is a total crock considering the charging times at high-speed chargers run about 20-40 minutes, which is NOT extremely long while a range of 200-300 miles is not that different from most ICE cars today (I’m lucky to get about 300 miles of range in my ’97 pickup truck or my much newer SUV) so by no means can you consider EV ranges “extremely short.”

      “… which is a disgrace considering how long EVs have been on the market,…”
      — you consider a mere 10 years a long time? Even the Toyota Prius has only been out for about 17 years or so and it has by no means been considered an EV but rather a hybrid, where the battery is little more than an acceleration booster for an underpowered engine when it first came out.

      ” … they should have surpassed ICE-powered cars ages ago)”
      — Now you’re just being facetious. They COULD have done so if GM had kept working on the EV-1 (which was never on the open market) but for whatever reason decided to abandon the project and destroy the cars. Again, EVs, True EVs, have only been on the market about 10 years and the OEMs are still learning how to improve on them.

      • 0 avatar
        Asdf

        “There is no stagnation; battery technology continues to improve”

        Sufficiently good battery technology should have been available already when the first “mass-market” EVs were launched, because otherwise the EVs would have been pointless entries in the marketplace (which they were).

        The fact that decent battery technology is *still* not available a decade later suggests not much is happening, and that the decision to launch EVs was extremely premature. Moreover, consumers’ appaling first impressions with EVs may possibly discourage future EV adoption when EVs eventually become decent (if that ever happens…).

        “Which is a total crock considering the charging times at high-speed chargers run about 20-40 minutes, which is NOT extremely long”

        No, what’s a total crock is calling chargers spending a whopping 20-40 minutes (!!!) *high-speed* chargers. The simple fact is, there is no such thing as a “high-speed charger”, and fanbois like you need to stop calling them that.

        “you consider a mere 10 years a long time?”

        It is a *very long time* for an EV manufacturer to get its act together and refine a premature product into something competitive. If they’re unable to do that after a decade of work, they really should withdraw their EVs from the market and even throw in the towel if they’re not even competent enough to make an EV that is as good as an ICE-powered car.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          I’ve put about 48k miles on my “premature” EV. What’s the problem? Why the hysterics? If they fit your lifestyle, they’re a great option. Absolutely wonderful to drive. ChargePoint is showing their 400kW stations and soon we’ll be seeing 300 to 350kW cars for sale soon.

          I went on a 105-mile trip Friday in my EV and didn’t have to take any time out of my day to charge. It charged while I worked and charged while I slept. When are the incompetent ICE car makers going to make a car I don’t have to go out of my way to visit a gas station to fuel? Why can’t it be fueled at home and work like an EV? So incompetent and they’ve had over 100 years to figure out their premature product. Why do ICE cars need oil changes? Haven’t they fixed that yet? They’ve had over 100 years.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “Sufficiently good battery technology should have been available already when the first “mass-market” EVs were launched, because otherwise the EVs would have been pointless entries in the marketplace (which they were).”
          — So you think the Nissan Leaf should have been a 400-mile car from the outset, Hmmm? Dude, a ‘new’ technology always starts small and builds up. Exactly what are you expecting from a BEV, a rocket? Well, you got it with the Tesla Model S, now didn’t you. That’s now been on the roads one way or another for about 7 years.

          “The fact that decent battery technology is *still* not available a decade later suggests not much is happening, and that the decision to launch EVs was extremely premature.”
          — What, exactly, do you consider, “decent battery technology?

          “Moreover, consumers’ appaling first impressions with EVs may possibly discourage future EV adoption when EVs eventually become decent (if that ever happens…).”
          — Exactly which, “consumers’ appalling first impressions with EVs” are you talking about? The Nissan Leaf, which sold over 250,000 units between 2010 and 2016? That doesn’t sound appalling to me. How about the much more expensive Tesla Model S, which has sold more than 100,000 units? Again, which, “consumers’ appalling first impressions with EVs” are you talking about?

          “No, what’s a total crock is calling chargers spending a whopping 20-40 minutes (!!!) *high-speed* chargers.”
          — How long does it take to charge your smartphone again? Or don’t you have one of those things. Can you show me ANY battery that can take a full charge in 20-40 minutes today or any time in the past? If you want “appallingly long” charging time, try charging 100kWh from your 110V wall outlet.

          “It is a *very long time* for an EV manufacturer to get its act together and refine a premature product into something competitive.”
          — So you don’t think the Tesla out-selling the Mercedes S-class two years running isn’t “competitive”?

          “If they’re unable to do that after a decade of work, they really should withdraw their EVs from the market…”
          — Do you even have any concept of how much time and how much money it takes to build a new car manufacturing business from nothing? Ten years and Tesla is able to compete with Mercedes’ one model with one model of their own. It takes time… and a lot more than a mere 10 years… to build a MATURE automobile company.

          “… and even throw in the towel if they’re not even competent enough to make an EV that is as good as an ICE-powered car.”
          — Which the Tesla Model S could do five years ago. The Model S could out-accelerate almost any ICE car on the market today EXCEPT so-called Supercars built only with speed in mind. Think about that. The Model S can get an easy 300 miles of range on one charge, if driven at or slightly below the expressway (meaning freeway and limited-access highway) speed limits and if driven at 60mph has been known to exceed that 300 miles, enough that most SENSIBLE drivers would have been looking for a gas station at around a quarter tank to play it ‘safe’. Then again, I do see too many ICEVs on the shoulder on the side where their drivers simply didn’t pay attention to their fuel gauge until it was too late.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Vulpine,
            asdf does raise some good points (unusual).
            1. EV are premature in the market place. If they weren’t you would not have them subsidised.

            2. Continuing on fro point 1. Without the ridiculous handouts they would fail.

            3. The biggest failure is battery tech. Current battery tech is good for LOW power applications, ie, phones, drills, tablets etc.

            4. Current EV and battery tech is best suited for industrial vehicles like a forklift.

            Even using current battery tech in conjunction with solar power for homes is far from feasible. Batteries after 10 years need replacing. Current solar energy and storage is still more expensive than retail pricing.

            Solar needs storage and current batteries will do the job, but it is not viable.

            Weight is another problem with batteries.

            Fossil fuel (gas and diesel) is hard to beat as a form of viable energy.

            Maybe long after we are dead and buried, if ever will batteries (EVs) be as cheap as fossil fuel power.

            I see it this way in our futures something has to give, medical, welfare, education as we get older or subsidised energy and food. Notice how they can be broken down into two brackets.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Do forgive me if I choose to disagree with most of your statements, especially like the one that says, “Batteries after 10 years need replacing.” There’s no proof of that and independent testing has estimated Tesla’s battery packs in particular good for 500,000 miles or about 15 years with 25 years conceivable depending on how quickly they lose range. That 15 years is for a maximum 20% loss of range, by the way.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Vulpine,
            I have looked into Tesla batteries and solar for my home.

            You are incorrect.

            Australia has a large, one of the world’s largest solar and battery markets for residential needs. It is NOT viable ie, make a financial return, even with government handouts with solar and battery.

            The best current option is nuclear.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            With over 5 Gigawatts now operating in Australia, solar isn’t going away.

            And NOWHERE have I talked about solar for the home in this thread — This discussion is about BEVs, not home or grid power. I’m guessing that you’re looking at the Solar Roof product by Tesla and as far as I’m concerned, the jury’s out on that one. I like the concept but I don’t like how they seem to limit your capacity to only the bare minimum to meet your average need and ignore the peak requirements. There are other companies out there that will install enough to get you off-grid if that is your desire, that offers more efficient collectors. It looks like the only drawback is that the panels might be more susceptible to severe weather events like high winds and hail.

            But batteries seem to be a truly viable power source for everyday travel and acceptable for mid- and some long-distance travel. For my one, annual, 1500-mile round trip, I would find a BEV with easy access to high-speed chargers an acceptable choice. The advantage of never having to stop for fuel in my daily driving would be a huge advantage, especially when electricity tends to run about half the cost of gasoline or diesel to cover the same distance.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Vulpine,
            25 years from a battery? So, how far will a vehicle travel on a 25 year old battery.

            Tesla home batteries operate at 75% after 10 years. So as a home owner I would want 25 to 30 years. This means I will need to upgrade batteries every 10 years. Or spend alot on additional capacity to overcome the gradual decline in the storage capacity of the battery.

            As for the gigawatts. That’s only during daylight.

            Sth Australia went big time into green energy. Prices doubled, business moved out and now Sth Australians expect the rest of the nation to subsidise them.

            Green energy has increased the cost of electricity or energy.

            EVs will always be more expensive than an equivalent ICE vehicle.

            Without fossil fuel subsidy via industry, vehicles, etc, green energy would not exist because it is expensive.

            Nuclear and geothermal are the 2 green energies that are viable.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “25 years from a battery? So, how far will a vehicle travel on a 25 year old battery.”
            — Read what I said above. I answered your question before you asked it.

            “Tesla home batteries operate at 75% after 10 years. So as a home owner I would want 25 to 30 years.”
            — Show me a Tesla home battery that’s been installed for ten years. How do you KNOW it’s a ten-year time limit?

            “As for the gigawatts. That’s only during daylight.”
            — Unless you include the Powerpacks to carry on through the night-time hours. While I can’t find the article online, Australia has supposedly contracted a Tesla solar installation •including Powerpacks• in the Gigawatt range. Meanwhile, 1.17 Gigawatts were installed by other solar providers just last year in Australia.

            “Sth Australia went big time into green energy. Prices doubled, business moved out and now Sth Australians expect the rest of the nation to subsidise them.”
            — Who’s ‘Sth Australia?’ This Wiki doesn’t mention anybody by that name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Australia

            “Green energy has increased the cost of electricity or energy.”
            — From what I’ve been reading, the exact opposite is true.

            “EVs will always be more expensive than an equivalent ICE vehicle.”
            — Don’t bet on it.

            “Nuclear and geothermal are the 2 green energies that are viable.”
            — Geothermal is possible but nuclear is NOT “green”. Radiation hazards are just as bad in their way as emissions from burning fuel and tend to last much, MUCH longer.

  • avatar
    mason

    This is certainly nothing new for Cummins. They have many partnerships in the marine, mining, and power generation industry. They​ have worked closely with the DOE since the early 90’s (that I know of, possibly longer) in technology development. Also read a piece from Cummins a while back on the viability of alternatives like bio-fuels, synthetic fuels and hydrogen. They’ve invested in exploratory projects focused on Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologies.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “… and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologies.”

      Hmmm… you intrigue me because the concept of iron being a fuel has been around for almost a century… if not longer.

  • avatar

    It’s encouraging to see an old stalwart company such as Cummins being so forward thinking. Seems they have their heads screwed on right. No matter what technology supersedes Diesel in transportation, Cummins will have a product ready to serve the market.

    I’d say they have a very good chance of surviving disruption in the transportation sector and coming out on top.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @JPWhite
      European diesel makers have already done these other alternatives with limited degrees of success

      • 0 avatar

        @RobertRyan.

        True enough. The fleet market is tough to break into. The fleet operators will want to be double dog sure that EV drivetrains will have a 20 year+ durability with reasonable maintenance costs. To get that level of comfort requires several years of pilot programs and doesn’t come quickly.

        The limited success we see is the running of pilot programs and not any significant conversion/commitment to electric drivetrains.

        If and when electric drivetrain pilot programs provide the results the operators are looking for we will see an uptick in adoption. Smaller operators following the lead of the large operators that have the deep pockets to run such extensive pilot programs.

        If the pilot programs fail, then it will be business as usual.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Hopefully a Diesel-Electric hybrid is in the works — imagine having train locomotive type propulsion in your bro-dozer.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I doubt we’ll have little “locomotive” drivetrains in passenger cars or even 18-wheelers, but Cummins has to be envisioning their diesel business washing away, not so much with EV HD pickups to 18-wheelers, but gas engines, which are already cutting into their sales of diesels in all classes of heavy duty trucks, from starting with 3/4 ton pickups to “class 7” (just under 18-wheelers).

      It’s those pesky V-10s and 6.4 Hemis, with others yet to come. Yes the improving dynamics of (very much cheaper to buy/service/repair/overhaul) big gas engines and potential turbo charging of them.

      This added to the ginormous clusterfuk diesel emissions have become, and they’ll get even worse in time!! This threatens Cummins the most.

      EVs aren’t much of a “threat” yet, so expect Cummins to come through with turbo (or supercharged) gas engines mimicking the explosive power of diesels with their fuel efficiency, almost.

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        Those pesky v10 and 6.4 Hemis are not even close to an even playing field in terms of Performance or reliability when truly worked hard compared to the 6.7 Cummins. It ain’t gonna stick no matter how many times you throw it at the wall. You keep throwing cost at the wall too but when you can sell a diesel truck for $5-8k over what you could sell an otherwise identical gas powered truck for it’s a wash. There’s an even larger gap when you get into MD trucks. Would you buy a mobile home when you could afford a nice ranch home just because the mobile home is cheaper? You get what you pay for.
        And aside from Ford there is virtually no manufacturer offering a gasoline engine in anything class 7. It is a desperate attempt at Ford retaining some of their sales because the current Powerstroke is (yet again) a failure. They screwed the pooch by dropping Cummins from their MD line. Your view points of gas vs diesel are very indicative of Fords successes and failures on the diesel market but that is it. The big players have it figured out and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Some reality needs to be realized here.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Every 6.4 Hemi Ram 3500/4500/5500 is a lost sale for Cummins. And it’s a growing trend, 3/4 tons and up. If you think Cummins hasn’t noticed, try again. Or should they just take it laying down??

          Fleet’s especially are rejecting diesels. Diesels make no sense in many cases, up to class 7. When Freightliner, Hino and similar, don’t offer a gasoline alternative, then it’s V8/V10 powered Ram and Ford medium dutys gaining a sale.

          Unless Cummins is brain dead, they’re developing their own truly industrial, high-output gasoline alternatives to diesels.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            “Every 6.4 Hemi Ram 3500/4500/5500 is a lost sale for Cummins. And it’s a growing trend, 3/4 tons and up. If you think Cummins hasn’t noticed, try again. Or should they just take it laying down??”

            More poo splattering at the wall that fails to stick. The take rate on the Cummins across the Ram HD line is now over 85% and has been on the rise since 2013.
            Perhaps you need to try again with a little less bias.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “…The take rate on the Cummins across the Ram HD line is now over 85% and has been on the rise since 2013…”

            Are you sure about that?? The 6.4 V8 “take rate” was “zero” in 2013 cab/chassis’, since it wasn’t an option until 2014…

            Before 2014, you were forced a Cummins on all Ram cab/chassis’ models. Ask yourself *why* the “choice” of a gas V8??

            The 5.7 Hemi was only available on the pickup Ram 3500 dually.

            Anyways, the article is about “Future Proofing”, not past or present take rates.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            The stat is per Cummins website. I assume they were quoting gasoline engines in general across all HD segments (pickup and CC). 2013 is key because that is the year Cummins went to SCR across the board not just on their CC models.

            “Anyways, the article is about “Future Proofing”, not past or present take rates.”

            I was merely responding to your usual misnomers that we are already there. I have conceded in the past that technology will eventually catch up to diesel to a degree. Google “Cummins ETHOS. They are already doing it on E85 with the dilemma being infrastructure and cost. When it comes down to it the same holds true with most every other alternative to diesel. I have serious doubts we will see a significant alternative that holds the same reliability, Performance and cost point in our lifetime.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It doesn’t matter what the “stat” is. Most HD Ram buyers are there for the Cummins, the chassis (or pickup) is along for the ride. With the bad press Power Strokes and Duramax have received (plus having to remove the cabs) has sent many more buyers to Ram specifically for the Cummins.

            That can’t last forever as GM and Ford diesels have improved dramatically, plus the aftermarket and independent shops have their upkeep and repairs down to a science. Better that the dealer.

            But the point is there’s now gas engines in trucks where diesels used to be the only engine choice. You’re crazy if you think there isn’t more to come.

            Why do you think that is? Do you think that might be the #1 reason Cummins is looking to diversify?

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            “But the point is there’s now gas engines in trucks where diesels used to be the only engine choice.”

            Huh? You apparently forgot about the big block days. They ruled the truck scene until diesels (and their own lack of Performance/economy) made them extinct.
            Fast forward all these years and if your being honest the gassers have certainly improved in the reliability spectrum but the Performance Delta has increased more in the diesels favor then ever.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          “You keep throwing cost at the wall too but when you can sell a diesel truck for $5-8k over what you could sell an otherwise identical gas powered truck for it’s a wash”

          Remind me how that’s a win when the premium of a Cummins is just about 5-8k over a 6.4 or 5.7?

          There are countless fleet cost studies out there that show long term diesel operating cost being either more or less than gas motors. The newer gas engines are steadily encroaching on what used to be diesel only territory(10-12k towing).

          I’m not complaining, the more bros insist on a diesel, the cheaper I can get my gas powered HD trucks that use the same axles, suspension, frame, etc, and end up with more payload and less front end wear. :)

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            I said: “when you can sell a diesel truck for $5-8k over what you could sell an otherwise identical gas powered truck for it’s a wash”

            TwoBelugas said: “Remind me how that’s a win when the premium of a Cummins is just about 5-8k over a 6.4 or 5.7?”

            Key word wash, not win. Strictly on the initial costs DM keeps bringing up as a negative of buying diesel. When that extra dinero is returned to my pocket on the back end the upfront cost is a wash, not a win. (Reading comprehension)
            But you don’t just get the diesel engine. You also get a much more robust transmission, integrated exhaust brake and 300mm rear ring gear.

            “I’m not complaining, the more bros insist on a diesel, the cheaper I can get my gas powered HD trucks that use the same axles, suspension, frame, etc, and end up with more payload and less front end wear. :)”

            I don’t personally know any “Bros” that buy $50k+ trucks but I know (including myself) several farmers and hotshotters that run them. When the front ends can eclipse 150,000 heavy towing miles (in Greg’s case, 220,000 and counting) with zero maintenance, I’m not too concerned about what engine is sitting over it. Definitely not going to base my decision on that. Ram also offers rebates approaching $10k on the diesels if you catch them at the right time.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Fleets need a long lifespan to justify the extra cost of a diesel in a HD pickup. If the truck will last 100k miles or higher then you can justify the diesel.
            My brother gets a new crewcab 3/4 ton gasser every 2-3 years. His trucks are beat to death because they live on gravel roads, construction sites and logging shows. The engine might be good for more miles but the body, suspension and chassis isn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            True diesels were an unbeatable engine choice. “were” being the operative word. Yeah I remember “Big Blocks”. They stopped progressing, set aside, shelved when diesels gained turbos, intercoolers, and other advancements.

            Everything was great. Then they gained “emissions”. And diesels got real expensive. Not just to buy, but to maintain and service. Shoot I’d drive ’90s diesels and do zero maintenance until forced to. Fuel filters would let me know when they were clogged when top speed and rpm got severely capped!

            This is all in the rearview. Besides, fleet owner care little about the “Performance Delta”. Why would they want to put drivers in Hot Rods?? Nope.

            Although the last Ford big blocks felt like dinosaurs compared to the turbo di Power Stroke. The 460’s restrictor plate didn’t help.

            And I’ve replaced tired ’90s big blocks. Cheap and easy. Total cost for the price of injectors on a modern diesel!!

            Yes now would be a great time for a new generation/evolution of big blocks. Obviously I’d be real interested in a highly advanced Cummins gas engine.

            In case you haven’t picked up on it, I won’t buy another diesel pickup. And I was the biggest diesel lover, going back to the ’80s.

            I owned the infamous Olds 5.7 and made work great with aftermarket filtration and tuning. I was hooked on diesels ever since. “was” being the operative word!

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            “Why would they want to put drivers in Hot Rods??”

            This one line contradicts virtually every comparison of modern gas to diesel you’ve ever made. Thank you for finally admitting some truth.
            Most fleet vehicles are primarily used on shorter trips where gas may make sense anyhow…I’m not sure why your so bent up on fleet driver’s beating on vehicles but I assure you if they’re going to hold their foot to the floor in one vehicle they’re going to do so with any. That’s more of a poor decision on who you hire from a management stand point and probably not who you want working for you in the first place. Of the local guys I know that drive company trucks, wether it be the crane service guys or heavy truck/equipment mechanics they’ve all got skilled trades and treat the trucks as their own and go as far as keeping them washed and polished. They treat their truck as a reflection of themselves… Even the delivery guys that are required a CDL have a lot to lose if caught abusing their truck.
            If you’ve driven any modern diesel pickup or CC you know they’re full of torque management off the line. Hard to hurt em even if your trying. Bottom line when you look at private owners that use their trucks to make a living the vast majority are still diesel. How many hotshotters do you know that run a gasser? I can’t remember even seeing one. There is logic behind this, and it’s not just because thousands of owners love to take more out of their bottom line “just to drive a diesel”.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            what is a “true diesel?”

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The “numbers” just don’t favor diesels anymore.That’s the bottom line. When a gas engine will do the job, it’s a done deal. This has only changed in the last few years, with fleets still running diesels they bought a decade ago. Figure many bought diesels back then (many were pre emissions) without giving it a 2nd thought. With their next new trucks, they will give it a 2nd thought.

            Hopefully drivers treat equipment as their own, but all day long I’m around drivers WOT from the dig and brake as late as possible. But the used owner-operator truck will most always have been treated better with the most miles/life left in them. That’s the used truck you’re looking for. Or no?

            For “Hotshotters”, yes only a diesel will do. That’s obvious. Yes most fleets still run diesels in HD and medium duty pickups and CCs. That’s changing and Cummins in certainly concerned about this, thus concidering a gas power Cummins. Peterbilt, Freightliner, KW, etc, could be (or should be) eyeing such an engine for medium duty truck “repeat” buyers with a wandering eye, considering a gas engine (for the 1st time) F-series or Ram cab/chassis.

            Yeah crazy world we live in now, yadda yadda.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            “what is a true diesel”?

            True diesel, aka 15 year old technology being superior when compared to current technology according to “Mile Higher Than A Kite Denver Mike”. He doesn’t realize how much more refined, powerful, efficient, and reliable the general platform has become in the last 3-5 years. Let’s rewind 20 years in the diesel world shall we?
            Cummins was just introducing the VP44 along with it’s first ever engine block mounted electric lift pump. Insane vibrations and heat cycles ensured the junk Carter OEM lift pump rarely lived beyond the warranty period and was sure to wipe out the vulnerable rotary style injection pump if it didn’t self implode on it’s own before hand. Or how about Ford aka Navistar HPOP set up that required twice as many parts to accomplish the same end result. Do we need to discuss GM’s 6.2 and 6.5 engines? Such wonderful specimens they all were.
            Fast forward to modern day engines and we’ve got a true MD engine in the Cummins exceeding twice the HP and twice the torque as the engines Mike so dearly loves. All while reliably capable of exceeding a quarter million hard towing miles with nothing but basic maintenance, transmissions and diffs included.
            Still wonder why I sold my 98 this spring after 19 years of ownership? Because after 4 years of ownership I can honestly say my 14 is that much better in every single way. Truck included.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I see diesel-electric hybrids on the road daily.

      The bus system in my city has been using diesel-electric hybrids for years. They’re a big improvement over regular buses in almost every way (quieter, smoother, lower TCO).

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Which city? But are locomotives “hybrids”. There’s no batteries involved in propulsion, just generator to motors.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Doh!

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I believe our latest batch of buses came from these guys:
          https://www.newflyer.com/?option=com_content&view=article&id=134&Itemid=191

          The hybrids are parallel hybrids, and are optimized/programmed for the customer’s needs.

          They offer a range of powerplants from conventional diesel to battery electric buses, for different customer’s needs.

          I was kinda bummed that my city got another batch of hybrids instead of going all in on the battery-poweres buses, but they’re executing a plan that was put in place about 5 years ago, and our politics are such that we have to chose the cheapest possible solution — rather than the best one.

          BTW, one of the most obvious benefits of hybrid buses is noise reduction. Conventional diesel buses make a lot of noise at full power, and the hybrid buses allow the diesel engine to remain at a much lower power setting while accelerating from a stop. That makes them much better neighbors, and much more pleasant to ride too!

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            P.S. The next target for this kind of technology needs to be garbage trucks.

            But, we have private trash hauling here, and those guys don’t appear to be the types who will embrace higher upfront costs in exchange for a lower TCO.

            One of our local trash haulers is so badly manages that they can’t even tell you if you’ve paid your bill when you call them up and ask — so forward looking accounting forecasts probably aren’t happening. They’ll just keep fixing their old truck because it’s “cheaper”, even if it costs more over time than a more modern machine.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ Luke the local privately owned garbage company has switched to Natural Gas for their fleet with a large premium compared to the diesel versions. So presumably it was done with the knowledge, at least at the time, that Natural gas would mean lower fuel, maintenance and repair costs that would more than make up for the additional up front cost increase. Of course they started doing that when the price of diesel was much higher than now, but before the true cost of keeping a 2010 compliant diesel running long term. So who knows how that balances out with today’s diesel prices.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Actually, railroads are looking at hybrid locomotives. GE now has a locomotive out that has extended the performance of their road engine from 400 ton-miles per gallon to 500 ton-miles per gallon. http://gas2.org/2012/03/28/ges-hybrid-locomotive-cuts-fuel-consumption-and-emissions/

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        There’s not a single application better than the city transit bus for hybrid technology. Not only do they improve fuel mileage by 30%-50%, they’re also much quicker, quieter, much smoother for the passengers (with no lurchy automatic transmission shifts), easier to stop smoothly (so fewer slip-n-falls), and cheaper to maintain (no transmission, much less brake wear, fewer busted engines).

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Electric motors would be great for trucks, but the big problem is the weight, capacity, and recharging speed of batteries in a truck application. I’m not sure the Cummins has the necessary expertise to develop improved batteries, so this investment in the future may be an empty hole for shareholders. All the “oil business” firms have or are making investments in “green” products, but as far as I can see none has actually developed a profitable business out it, and several have abandoned or down-scaled their efforts. I have to wonder if Cummins shareholders wouldn’t be better served if this “green” investment money was used to either improve the core diesel products or to increase dividends.

    • 0 avatar

      @Stingray65.

      Failure to diversify would be a huge mistake, especially if we are anticipating some level of disruption in the drivetrain marketplace. It is better to invest in an alternative that may or may not pan out than use the same money make a relatively small incremental advancement in their core products which they do plan to continually invest anyway.

      One of Cummins competitors are working with UPS, the largest fleet in the US, and are testing hundreds of their brown delivery vehicles with electric drivetrains, and have been for several years.

      Local transportation and portage is the low hanging fruit for electrification. Cummins are being smart to prepare themselves for such an outcome.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      At least in the short run, until the hype dam bursts; investments in currently hyped “technologies” are, at worst, free for shareholders. Very possibly of negative cost, even.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        stuki,
        I agree with your view regarding over hyped markets.

        Let’s consider current power generation, it is pretty much the same in Ethiopia or the US. A generator is needed.

        The generator can be powered by steam turbines or a 2 stroke.

        I really believe we need to find a way to store solar heat to generate steam. Or better still drill down and use geothermal energy.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          Already done…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PS20_solar_power_plant

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          I’m honestly not sure why. But if a way can be found, why not? H2 cars are supposed to be just such a thing. But like all such things, H2 is a bit of a pipe dream as well.

          There is nothing wrong with modern, clean burning gas ICEs. Or even diesels, if operated within a much narrower output range and fitted with modern emissions tech. Both potentially augmented with shorter range/lower speed all electric plug in capability.

          If soda bubbles really is that big a problem for some, and not just the latest fad in virtue signalling, “hot highways” over rail, require no magical batteries nor other forms of science fiction. Just a serious commitment to build an infrastructure that is ultimately vastly superior to anything resembling today’s highways.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @stuki:

            While in general you make good points, you overlook a couple of problems. First off, burning ANYTHING puts co2 into the atmosphere and much higher than those little ‘soda bubbles’ you mention; but co2 is only one of many different gasses that come off of burning things.

            Secondly, the infrastructure to enable “hot highways” or even to enable long-distance passenger rail (even as a private venture) would be prohibitively expensive. Nearly the only “cheap” way to enable some sort of transport like that today would require either incredibly long subway-like tunnels or something along the lines of Elon Musk’s “Hyperloop” concept. I suggest looking up what is being discussed in Europe with the Hyperloop.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Hopefully a Diesel-Electric hybrid is in the works — imagine having train locomotive type propulsion in your bro-dozer.”

    Minus the diesel, that is basically how my Volt works and after a year of ownership it’s a brilliant idea in IMHO. I think I burned about 20 gallons of gas putting the first 10K miles on it. Yesterday I put a 150 miles on it, 50 miles pure EV and the other 100 miles on gas where it still returned just under 46 MPG. The “HOLD” feature, introduced on the 2013’s allows me to burn gas while on the highway and save my battery for city driving which really improves the overall efficiency of its locomotive style drive train. If you can’t tell, I really like the car because it drives like a million bucks and is one of the most efficient vehicles on the road without the limitations of a pure EV.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      You’d need a diesel generator (at a minimum) to reach efficiency parity with the hybrid drives in other hybrids, though. A big diesel, either on or off, extremely highly tuned for it’s sole engine speed, really.

      And even then, I’m not sure it’s feasible, unless your generator is either power plant sized, or you absolutely need the startability of a locomotive. Or, of course, if your generator is not an ICE at all, but instead a fuel cell :)

      For what sounds like your usage, you essentially already have a power plant sized some-sort-of generator doing most of the recharging. With the less efficient onboard one, only seeing occasional, “emergency” use. So it works out real well.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I find an interesting angle on the pickup market:

    In the near future along comes a practical EV pickup. It’s front wheel drive only. What share of the market would it fail to capture due to that factor? That’s to say how many American buyers really need a pickup for it’s intended purpose?

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      For all those who use them to tow any significant weight any significant distance, EV pickups are not likely in the near future.

      • 0 avatar

        @stuki

        “EV pickups are not likely in the near future.”

        Workhorse have taken 10,000+ pre-orders for their fleet W-15 EV Pickup truck.

        http://workhorse.com/pickup/

        Here is just one pre-order that occurred recently. “Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) has received a Letter of Intent from Southern California Public Power Authority for 500 W-15 Plug-In Electric Pickup trucks.”

        The near future does indeed appear to be near.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Opinions and wishes vs reality. For all those who say there’s no market, it’s only because that market hasn’t been tapped… yet.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Doubt those are intended to tow significant weight for any significant distance. Which, while not what most pickup buyers actually do most of the time, is a capability most of them want to have, at a minimum “just in case.”

          And also, for governments, $2000 toilet seats are perfectly a-ok as well. Some may even be preordered. But my money is still on an F150 with an ICE outselling this thing for quite some time.

          A truck doing the fairly common truck thing of towing things a non truck can’t; will require a steady output in the hundreds of horsepower (Hence the size of the radiators required to cool the things.) Energy density in batteries are simply not close to provide even pretend-parity with diesel, or even gas, for those kind of duty cycles. The occasional “We’re going green with other people’s green” stunt notwithstanding.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Less than 50% of all pickups sold each year tow anything over 5000 pounds during their lifetime. Few even tow that much. This isn’t to say there isn’t a need for such heavy haulers, there is; but most pickup trucks are either used for light-duty services or do-it-yourself projects. Honestly, unless you’re planning to haul a heavy 7500# or heavier camper behind it, most people simply don’t need as much as they get and tend to waste far too much money on what is otherwise a status symbol. A BEV pickup can do almost anything any half-ton pickup can do and probably do it far cheaper when it comes to fuel costs (at least 50% cheaper “fuel”, depending on grade used) while offering the kind of horsepower and torque to get out its own way, as well as the way of any other vehicle, just about.

            Yes, BEVs do have their limitations. But those limitations are nearly as severe as some would have you believe. Unless you REGULARLY travel farther than the battery’s rated range, you NEVER have to stop for a recharge in everyday driving; simply plug it in at home (to your dryer outlet) and you’re good to go the next day. A Class 2 recharger would have you ready to go in four hours, even if you have an 85kWh – 100kWh battery. On the road, you will have to make stops to recharge but even then they’re not that much more frequent than refilling a gasoline-fueled truck and you don’t have to stand at the side of the rig to fuel it while it’s plugged in.

            And electrics have an advantage not even diesels offer–all that torque at zero RPM; you can get your load moving out and moving quicker than even the most powerful diesel, though admittedly the diesel •might• have a higher top end. Then again, you’re not supposed to be towing at 80mph, much less 100mph or more.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well for a lot of gov’t fleets an EV truck would be just fine. I see many city and school district vehicles that take 15,20 or more years to reach that 100-150K mile retirement mark. So a range of 50-100 mi per day would be more than enough for many of their vehicles.

      School buses would be a great application. They all return to the bus barn every night where they could charge and many will get a mid day break where they could get a little boost. You could also put a few chargers at each school and give them a good bump as they wait for school to end, the students to load and the call to head out is made. Sure you would need a few conventional buses to take on longer field trips, take the team to state championship ect.

      Throw in a person or council who is set on saving the world and thinks EVs are the way to do it and you could have quick adoption in gov’t markets and a lot of gov’t fleets have a lot of experience with Cummins powered vehicles so when the person in charge of purchasing the vehicles gets a mandate to buy x% EV vehicles Cummins could stand to do quite well.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Joss,
      Most pickups are large rear wheel drive daily drivers.

      They are bought because “you can”, like most any vehicle.

      People (read many pickup owners) state they need a pickup to to tote and tow.

      They even come up with creative ideas eg. my 6 year old will become tall.

      I own a pickup, can I get by without one? Yes. I own one because I can afford to keep it on the road.

      Puckup owners that make many over reaching comments must feel guilty or they would be honest.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Let’s fire up the ole Cummins and head to the truck meet!

    *click* *whirr*

    Wooohoooo!


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