Engine Giant Cummins Launched Its Electric Semi Ahead of Tesla

The Cummins AEOS Concept Class 7 Urban Hauler EV vehicle was unveiled Aug. 30 in Columbus Ohio

The Cummins AEOS Concept Class 7 Urban Hauler EV vehicle was unveiled Aug. 30 in Columbus Ohio

As Tesla fans and the industry at large await the reveal of the electric vehicle brand's promised semi-trailer truck in September, Cummins, most widely known for its diesel engines, has quietly unveiled an electric truck of its own.

With the unveiling of the Urban Hauler EV, Cummins says it has introduced a state-of-the art battery pack offering, "redefining energy-efficiency and density capabilities for the EV market".

The battery's capacity is 140 kilowatt-hours, which is enough for about 100 miles of range.

It takes about an hour to completely recharge the battery, but the goal is to reduce the charging time to just 20 minutes by the end of the decade. Word is that the electric big rig can go up to 300 miles per charge making it appropriate for regional deliveries. The truck design will also include an Engine-Generator option for extended range.

Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) says it continues to stake a claim as the global engine manufacturer best-positioned to "win" in the future.

With the stricter emission norms set to be implemented in the coming years, the electric trucks will be a flawless solution to prevent the pollution from big diesel engines. Cummins has brought on engineering firm Rousch to help design and build the engine. "This truck enables us to demonstrate that electrified powertrains will be viable".

Cummins is to supply a fully integrated battery electronics system, buying the cells from an unnamed provider, with production to begin in 2019. Like most electric vehicles, the Cummins uses regenerative braking and rolling resistance - like the B-Mode in a Nissan Leaf or Volvo XC90 T8 - to eke out extra range. Air drag is reduced by replacing side mirrors with an in-dash camera system. It is expected to offer 300 miles between charges and 50 percent fuel savings compared to current diesel hybrid trucks.

Tesla may be the highest-profile company looking to break into EVs designed for commercial hauling, but it's far from the only one.

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