CUMMINS JOINS THE HYDROGEN COUNCIL AND UNVEILS POWERDRIVE
US COMMERCIAL VEHICLE power-plant maker Cummins has joined the Hydrogen Council, a global coalition exploring and promoting hydrogen as a clean energy source to help meet the world’s climate challenges, it’s reported recently.
The announcement is the latest development in Cummins’ efforts to explore and support the use of low-carbon energy sources to help address global climate challenges.
The company has been working quickly to develop its own capabilities in electrification, establishing a new Electrified Power business segment in 2018. Leaders have pledged to have an electric powertrain system for the urban bus market by the end of 2019.
At the recent 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show, Cummins displayed its advanced suite of plug-in hybrid electric powertrain solutions, further broadening its portfolio.
Most interestingly, it unveiled the PowerDrive – for light, medium and heavy-duty applications.
According to the company, the Cummins PowerDrive offers both parallel and series capabilities. It replaces the conventional transmission and switches in real time between two hybrid and two pure electric modes, optimising the powertrain for the best fuel economics in any driving situation, it’s claimed.
The Cummins PowerDrive system has travelled more than six million miles in a fleet setting in the United States and China, and work is underway to introduce it to the European market in future. Its flexible architecture means the PowerDrive system can be combined with various sizes of diesel or natural gas engines and battery pack outputs, according to the company.
WHAT’S THE GO?
The flexible hybrid architecture seamlessly shifts between pure electric for environmentally sensitive areas with a 50-mile (80km) range and hybrid for jobs requiring more than 300 miles (480km), says Cummins.
It operates as a hybrid in either series or parallel configuration modes. Series is better suited to low road speeds, such as urban driving (stop/start conditions), while parallel is ideal for higher road speeds on the highway.
In a series hybrid, the electric motor is the only means of providing power to the wheels. The motor receives electric power from either the battery pack or from the engine-generator. In a parallel hybrid, the engine and electric motor combine to provide the power that drives the wheels. The third mode of electric plus comes online when higher energy is required, when the system senses gradient climbing or acceleration for overtaking.
A US Class 6 truck powered by the PowerDrive with a 50-mile (80km) electric range realises reduced emissions by up to 80 per cent compared to conventional vehicles, the company claims. Similarly, fuel costs are reduced by between 40 to 80 per cent depending on the drive cycle.
The BP74E(74 kWh) high-voltage battery pack, designed for long-range buses and trucks.