Cum­mins lift­ing the cur­tain

Man­u­fac­tur­ers launches its view of the truck’s fu­ture

Big Rigs - - TECH TALK WITH BRUCE HON­EY­WILL -

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.

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