Cummins Beats Tesla to Introduce a Powerful All-Electric Truck
Tesla has been an undisputed king of the electric car industry. It is the first truly successful mass-market electric carmaker. The company’s goals were highly ambitious when they launched their first all-electric car in 2008, and are still ambitious 9 years later when they are launching an all-electric truck to haul loads. While all other carmakers have been playing the catching up game, Tesla was recently beat at its own game by an unlikely player – Cummins. Yes, the very same Cummins that has been manufacturing powerful, muscular, and beasty diesel engines for decades.
Cummins released a prototype of their all-electric heavy-duty truck just last month, one month ahead of Tesla’s launch of its own all-electric truck. Cummins has dubbed its product as the first of its kind zero emissions truck that runs entirely on electricity.
The Class 7 Urban Hauler Tractor, as Cummins calls it, is designed for local deliveries. That’s because it has a range of 100 miles on a single charge. This mean 18,000-pound machine is capable of hauling a maximum payload of 44,000 pounds. That’s quite impressive for an electric truck. But, presently, the batteries on this truck take about 1 hour to charge. Cummins expects the first of these trucks to be on the road only by 2020. By then it hopes to reduce that number to 20 minutes.
In comparison, Tesla’s electric trucks are reportedly said to have a range in excess of 300 miles on a single charge. It is not yet clear how much time Tesla’s trucks will take to attain full charge. But, considering the advancements that the company has displayed in its car business, it is safe to expect that it will be less than what Cummins truck takes at the moment. Despite this, neither Cummins nor Tesla are in the same league as the present generation of diesel trucks. The diesel trucks of today can last an average of 1000 miles on a full tank. Clearly, it is a long road ahead for electric trucks before they reach the capabilities of diesel trucks.
Cummins knows this, and therefore, has pitched its truck as a local delivery option. The truck is actually built by Roush, and Cummins itself has no interest in producing them. It only wants to supply electric powertrains to truck manufacturers. So, it really depends on businesses that have large shipping fleets like Wal-Mart, and FedEx on when they wish to begin using electric engines in their vehicles. As for Cummins, it hopes to begin selling 140 kWh battery packs for truck operators and bus operators as early as 2019.
To rise up to the challenge posed by diesel trucks and Tesla’s superior truck, Cummins will soon be releasing a hybrid truck, which will feature both diesel and electric engines. The hybrid will have a total range of 300 miles.
As one can imagine, the electric trucking business is experiencing a cut-throat competition, and it is only going to get more competitive as more players like Ford are expected to enter this space. So, Cummins is hedging its bets by not depending solely on the success of its electric powertrains. It recently released a near-zero emissions natural gas-powered engine and a super-efficient diesel engine. In addition, the company has announced that they will be releasing a revolutionary diesel by 2022.
Whatever be the case, it is clear that truck and engine manufacturers are putting their weight behind the electric revolution, which is a great thing.