Cummins has been awarded a US$4.5m grant from the US Department of Energy (DoE) to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which it says can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% compared to conventional models.
When fully loaded, Class 6 vehicles weigh between around 19,000 and 26,000 pounds (8.6t), with typical examples including school buses or single axle work trucks.
Cummins researchers will select the engine with the best architecture to use as an electric commercial vehicle range extender, using the powerplant to manage the charge level of the all-electric drive battery pack.
The range extender will be integrated, using advanced vehicle controls, with the electrified powertrain and other applicable technologies.
Cummins is partnering with PACCAR on the project, with the full team featuring representatives from The Ohio State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.
“The close integration and control of the electrified powertrain with an appropriately selected engine is critically important to developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system,” said Cummins VP Research and Technology, Wayne Eckerle.
“We believe through the team’s efforts we can soon make these innovations commercially available, which has the potential to translate into substantial savings annually per vehicle, helping our customers and the environment.”
The reduction of fuel consumption will be met or exceeded, says Cummins, during a wide-range of drive cycles designed to meet the needs of a variety of commercial fleet operators.
The fuel reduction goals will be achieved through the use of an electrified vehicle powertrain, optimisation of the internal combustion engine operation and other technologies, including intelligent transportation systems and electronic braking.