Cummins Aeon concept beats Tesla to the all-electric semi punch
While the world waits for a Tesla long-haul truck, Cummins has swooped in with the Class 7 Urban Hauler EV concept demonstrator. The all-electric Urban Hauler, which also paves the way for range-extender hybrid long-haul vehicles, hints at a cleaner, greener future for heavy haulers.
The new Class 7 Urban Hauler EV, also known as the Aeos, eschews the usual diesel engine for a 140-kWh battery pack and electric motors. That means peak range is about 100 mi (160 km) and gross vehicle weight (GVW) is capped around 75,000 lb (34,020 kg). Extra battery packs could extend that to around 300 mi (483 km).
According to Cummins, the base battery and electric motors weigh about the same as the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor. The company hasn't said how much the battery packs weigh individually, but logic would suggest adding extra cells to boost the range will also add some serious weight.
Like electric cars, the truck has regenerative braking, and the trailer roof can house solar panels for a bit more range on sunny days. The wing mirrors have been replaced with small cameras for better aerodynamics, and the sealed body and under-floor section should also smooth things out. With no engine to cool, it doesn't need a radiator either. Just how clean the truck is will depend on where the energy it's charged with comes from, but you'll get no local emissions from the concept regardless.
Electric power is one path to a cleaner future in trucking, but the internal combustion engine has plenty to offer as well. Cummins unveiled two new diesel engines, dubbed X15 and X12, alongside the Aeos that promise better airflow management and more precise fuel delivery for better long-haul efficiency. Both engines use a fully-integrated after treatment system for cheaper maintenance.
Finally, Cummins used its latest event to unveil a range of natural gas engines. Compressed natural gas (CNG) has grown in popularity in trucks recently, with offerings from Skoda and Scania using the technology entering service in Europe. Cummins hasn't been particularly forthcoming with details about the powertrain, other than suggesting they offer similar performance to their diesel options.
Cummins wants to put have an electric powertrain in production in 2019, including battery electric and plug-in hybrids, and plans to produce the electric internals while outsourcing vehicle bodywork.
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It is basically granted at this stage that the Tesla Semi will be fully autonomous so recharge times become a non-issue as it will still rack more miles in a day than a human is allowed to.
With losses, let's say you have 60 kW available per hour (and that's stretching efficiency claims). 60 kW is ~80 horsepower. Think that's going to drag a seventy-five thousand pound barn door around?
I'm waiting for Tesla to race the BEST diesel truck out there from Golden, CO to Las Vegas, NV with rigid control of speeds (no speeding allowed even while passing) and rigid control of trucking rest and allowed hours of driving per day (11). The Tesla should be able to make the trip in the 11 hours allowed but no Diesel will do it without breaking speed limits going downhill to make up for lost time or skipping mandatory breaks.