Cummins lifting the curtain
Manufacturers launches its view of the truck’s future
READING the story on the Lowood truck show elsewhere in this issue, you can’t help but smile at the so-called ‘noisy boys’ blowing black smoke and rattling the windows of the little Lockyer Valley town.
Makes you realise how far truck technology has come in a couple of short decades. Today our engines, whether European or North American, run quietly and have highly efficient fuel burns which show up in clean muffler stacks and exhaust that is all but invisible.
While it is great to look back when the music of a Mack V8 excites the blood, I think we all realise that those days are over if not forgotten.
With countries like the UK planning to ban the internal combustion engine from mid-21st Century, we realise that the journey from those old smoke blowers to the power plant for trucks of the future is not even half way through. The battle of technologies between EGR and SCR are now all but over, manufacturers looking to either a hybrid system or, as with Cummins, increasing the efficiency of SCR to meet the requirements for the end of this decade.
All the while there has been the sci-fi approach of using alternative fuels, .but this week in Columbus Indiana, Cummins lifted the curtain on the future with powerful diesel engines with reduced tare weight and even lower emissions.
Electronic management of these engines is integral to the future and the cooperative approach between Cummins and Eaton will meet these needs.
Cummins flagged the release of a new diesel engine in 2022, an engine aimed at the heavy end of the transport market where as yet, alternative technologies cannot fill the bill when it comes to the equation of cost versus efficiency and emissions management.
It was a big day in Columbus, as Cummins also opened the window to the future on research directions of the company. Making use of the huge increase in efficiency of battery storage systems, the company paraded what it calls its Urban Hauler EV.
This truck can run as fully electric in urban operations and has an option of an inbuilt engine generator for recharging batteries for extended range capabilities.
Cummins engineers made clear that research was still going on at a high-level looking at alternate fuels that gave proxy diesel performance, investigating a range of liquid fuels such as ethanol, methanol and petroleum that can meet the most stringent emissions standards.
The company is also looking at biofuels, synthetic fuels and hydrogen as well as having project engines using Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide fuel cell technologies.
Cummins has for some time offered natural gas engines and research in this area continues and the company revealed its latest near zero natural gas engines during the event.
The advantage of this engine is that it’s behaviour and performance is very similar to current diesel engines however the new generation engines will have little to no omissions working at the heavy end of the American Class 8 tractor market.
As is always the case manufacturers will push high-tech product into the Australian market before it is needed with our comparatively sparse population.
Rightly or wrongly, this is the result of manufacture scale of efficiency in overseas production that is far beyond the needs of a small market like Australia, however changes over the next decade or two will be faster and harder.
❝ Research continues with alternate fuels that give proxy diesel performance...
FUTURE: The Urban Hauler EV made public at Cummins HQ in Columbus Indiana, all electric with gen assist for longer haul.