Diesel maker Cummins (NYSE: CMI) beat Elon Musk to the punch by showing off its’ electric semi-tractor a month before Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA).
The nine-ton (18,000 pounds or 8,165.66 kilograms) AEOS is a Class 7 heavy-duty truck that runs off a 140-kilowatt hour battery pack, Forbes reported. The AEOS is capable of pulling a 22-ton (19,958 kilograms) trailer for up to 100 miles (160.934 kilometers).
The AEOS is designed as a prototype of an urban hauler for tasks such as hauling beer or groceries from warehouses to retail stores. Other uses might include moving cargo containers from a dock to a railhead. Another big market for AEOS will be as a garbage truck. Yet another big use will be as fire trucks.
It will take around one hour to charge the AEOS with current technology, but Cummins hopes to reduce that to 20 minutes by 2020. Commercial production of the AEOS is supposed to begin by 2019.
Cummins Planning Hybrid Electric Semi Tractor
A hybrid version of the AEOS with a range of up to 300 miles (482.8 kilometers) is planned for next year.
Cummins is not planning to build the trucks, but instead to supply the powertrains. The powertrains will be sold to truck builders; such as PACCAR (NASDAQ: PCAR), and Tesla. Tesla is planning for a longer range regional hauler. At least two unicorns; Nikola Motor Company (also named for Nikola Tesla) and Proterra, and Daimler owner of Freightliner, are working on electric semis, Forbes reported.
The reason for Cummins sudden interest in electrics is probably the growing efforts to ban or limit the use of diesel vehicles in cities around the world. Cummins is actually planning to offer two zero emissions technologies; electric and natural gas.
Despite that Cummins is not planning to shut down its diesel production any time soon.
“Even if the electrified power train replaces the internal combustion engine completely, that’s still a 20- to 25-year transition period customers have to manage through,” Cummins’ CEO Thomas Linnebarger pointed out. Unlike Elon Musk, Linnebarger also believes that long-range over the road electric semis are not practical at this time.