How Cummins envisions the future of power (and what that means for its engine business)

How Cummins envisions the future of power (and what that means for its engine business)

The hardest part about planning the future of trucking equipment is that there are no clear-cut answers. Yes, diesel engines will still power the world for the time being, but decarbonization shifts are happening. Battery electric trucks are rolling in regional haul applications and investments are being poured into hydrogen fuel cell development. To complicate matters, there is one decarbonization certainty: You can’t wait for a magic bullet solution. 

“Decarbonization starts today. That’s our mentality on how we’re approaching our products,” said Uma Vajapeyazula, product strategy, Cummins. “We’re not going to wait for the infrastructure to be ready for things to work out perfectly. We’re going to figure out how we start decarbonization as we build our product portfolios.”

Most immediately, that means moving toward a fuel-agnostic engine platform, evolving the Cummins X- and B-Series engines. Diesel will still be a core offering, but natural gas, gasoline, propane and even hydrogen Cummins engines will come to market. In fact, the most recent announcement was that PACCAR will offer the Cummins X-15N natural gas engine in Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks. On top of that, gasoline engine prototypes of the Cummins B6.7 were put through their paces on a test track in Columbus, Indiana, during a recent press event. The fuel agnostic engine platform transition is happening, with the goal of lowering emissions. 

“We’re driving reductions in NOx, we’re driving reductions in CO2, we’re championing decarbonization efforts,” Vajapeyazula said. “We want to bring lower NOx products to the market without disrupting the industry or making the products too complex, expensive or unreliable. We’re trying to partner with alternate fuel providers that will play a big role. The questions we face are: How do you make it renewable? How do you bring natural gas in a big way to the market? How do you create incentive for the hydrogen infrastructure to pick up?”

Critics might say that those solutions are great, but they’re still producing emissions. That’s true, but reducing emissions right now adds up to big environmental savings in the near term. Those savings compound over the long term. 

“The way I look at it is if you have 100,000 vehicles on the market, and I improve the carbon efficiency by 10% by lowering the greenhouse gas from our portfolio by 10%, then that’s the equivalent of putting 10,000 electric vehicles on the road at the same cost as diesel, same assets, no new technologies, no recharging concerns, and no infrastructure dependency,” Vajapeyazula explained. “That is an impact we can make today.”

In regional haul applications, Cummins sees battery electric powertrains as a reality when the application range is 200 miles or so. Its recent acquisition of Meritor and its partnership with Isuzu to power battery electric trucks shows the engine manufacturer is serious about electrification. Long-haul applications are a different decarbonization story. 

With Cummins’s fuel-agnostic engine approach, the question is no longer: “How will these fuels work in an engine?” The engines (in the case of natural gas and diesel) exist today. You can actually order one. So the question is: “How will fuels like renewable diesel and natural gas, and even hydrogen when it’s ready for prime time, be supported in the market? And most importantly, how will fleets make money with them?”

For those answers, let’s dive into the engine details. Click below to read more on Cummins’s approach to a specific engine technology. 

The power density of diesel (and its decarbonization impact)

Natural gas engines in the Now: Potentially poised for growth

Hydrogen ICE: Fueling more than just fuel cells

You May Also Like

Continental Tire opens Retread Solutions Center in South Carolina

The company hopes to uncover new improvements and technologies to innovate the retread process.

Continental-Tire-retread-solutions-center-south-carolina

Continental Tire recently opened its Continental Retread Solutions Development Center in Rock Hill, S.C., with a focus on retread process improvements and technology development. The goal, Continental says, is to bring “innovation and up-to-date retread processes to Continental’s Retread Solutions Partners and the fleets they serve.”

Akebono launches severe-duty brake pads for Ford models

The company says its new brake pads last longer and can lower maintenance costs, while still providing the stopping power fleets need.

Dayton Parts introduces fuel injector wiring harnesses, EGR coolers, trailer air tank reservoirs

Fuel injector wiring harnesses, exhaust gas recirculation coolers and trailer air tank reservoirs designed to match OEM spec.

Dayton-Parts-2-product-releases
Thermo King launches Electrification Readiness Program

The dealer program is designed to enable customers’ transition to more sustainable fleet solutions, improved efficiency and decarbonization.

Thermo-King-Electrification-Readiness-Program
Weather Guard adds new truck boxes and headache racks

The 2024 Saddle and Lo-Side truck boxes include the one-key Ultralock security feature.

Weather-guard-headache-racks-lock-boxes

Other Posts

Diesel powertrain technology that makes a decarbonization difference

Saving diesel can reduce CO2 emissions, but is it enough to make a difference? Volvo thinks so, and made these changes to boost efficiency.

Trucking-Sustainably-mar24.-truckengine
Trade Show Talk: Trends kicking off 2024

Alternative fuels, connectivity, efficiency—there’s been plenty to report on from trucking trade shows, but which topics stuck out most?

trade-show-Talk-work-truck-week-tmc-geotab-connect-hdaw
J&R Schugel wraps Kenworth T680s to support driver causes

After a driver beat breast cancer, the company wrapped her truck in pink and white to support her goal of raising awareness.

JR-Schugel-breast-cancer-awareness-truck
A ‘Toward Zero’ emissions Q&A with Volvo Trucks’s Roger Alm

Talking through the challenges, the technological advances, and the strategies for a sustainable future.

Volvo-Trucks-roger-alm-world-volvo-sustainability-1400