Top 5 reasons why Columbus, Indiana is the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Electric Trucks

Indiana Road Sign

Conventional wisdom holds that most innovation comes out of Silicon Valley. Or does it? When it comes to the future of electrified power in trucks, look no further than Columbus, Indiana.


Here’s the top five reasons why a city in the heart of the Midwest is becoming a hotbed for a cleaner, greener future of transport:

  1. People – Cummins’ people are intrinsic to all that the company does. With access to a pool of sparky entrepreneurs internally, and with Purdue University, Notre Dame and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology nearby, Cummins has access to some of the nation’s smartest engineers, primed to develop the electric solutions of tomorrow. 
     
  2. Technology – The Cummins Technical Center is the company’s hub for research and development and the place where the Electrified Power business got started. The company’s strengths in understanding catalysis for the Emission Solutions business kickstarted research into battery cell chemistries. The company has found that when you invest in curiosity, new solutions blossom.
     
  3. Location – Fourteen Interstate highways begin in, end at, or pass through Indiana, earning the state the nickname “Crossroads of America.” Highways a plenty mean great access to customers (in fact, the state is within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population), an abundance of land for off-highway vehicle testing and Lake Michigan for pushing electrified solutions to the next level.
     
  4. Service – Scaling up to produce product repeatedly and reliably is no simple task. Rest assured, Cummins has brought the same great minds together to develop its Electrified Power operations as they have done for the rest of the company’s businesses. And once Cummins products are out the door, they are supported by a network of 7,200 dealerships globally, all connected to the company’s headquarters in Indiana. 
     
  5. Culture – Columbus, Indiana has adopted the motto: “Everywhere art and unexpected architecture.” Columbus is celebrated as one of the best small cities in the world for architecture lovers and where there’s art, there’s inspiration for bright ideas that lead to future innovation. Be sure to check out the Chaos sculpture, the gateway project bridge and AEOS, the company’s electric truck when you visit.

The world is changing fast. Cummins has the people, knowhow and facilities to drive innovation. After 100 years in business, the company knows its customers and what they need.  As the world's largest independent manufacturer of diesel engines, building over a million engines a year, no one knows commercial vehicles like Cummins. Keep a watchful eye on Columbus Indiana, the ‘Silicon Valley’ of electric trucks. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Behind the Scenes of Electrified Power’s New Recruiting Film

Behind the scenes of Cummins "Wild Ideas" video shoot

Show, don’t tell.

Cummins Electrified Power business’ latest video, titled "Wild Ideas," follows the authentic and compelling story of a young creator who dreams big and sees the world in unique ways.

You’ll get a snapshot of a young girl’s creativity when she designs a pedal-powered bike light and then electrifies the bike so she can keep up with professional cyclists. Her entrepreneurial and innovative spirit eventually leads her to Cummins as a potential employee. Here she finds a place with the culture and resources that match her ambitions. 

Cummins 'Wild Ideas' video shoot - behind the scenes

A part of the Electrified Power business’ “Feel the Energy” recruitment campaign, the video was created in hopes engineers and other creators will see a younger version of themselves in the story, shaping their own destiny. The scenes were shot on location at the Cummins Pilot Center in Columbus, Indiana and in a garage in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

The personality and emotion the film conveys brings Cummins’ vision to life. Powering the future is why we’re in this business. And our innovation is powered by the entrepreneurial spirits of Cummins’ employees, a diverse and curiosity-driven workforce. The spot appeals to broad audiences and candidates who align with Cummins’ core values and mission. 

Cummins "Wild Ideas" video shoot - Behind the scenes

The film was created to inspire and engage current and future Cummins employees. To that, we say "mission accomplished." Some audiences have even been moved to tears by the video and you just might, too.

Watch the video and feel the energy.  


 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

2019 Work Truck Show: I Spy Cummins Electrification

Cummins Work Truck Show 2019

Can you find Cummins™ PowerDrive products at the 2019 Work Truck Show?

The Cummins electrified power business unit has a strong presence at the 2019 Work Truck Show offering plenty of opportunities to check out our portfolio of PowerDrive products firsthand in application. Discover the latest in electric vehicle technology with the reliability, support and service of Cummins.

Cummins Booth #5081

First, come see us at the Cummins booth (#5081) to learn more about our innovative electrified power solutions. Our team of electrification experts will be there to answer your burning questions about electrified power and hand out sweet treats.

I Spy the Cummins PowerDrive

While you're exploring various booths, be on the lookout for Cummins all-electric powertrain solutions. You’ll find our customers showcasing several real-world applications of our PowerDrive drivetrain technology in their booths.

PowerDrive 6000ev

I spy with my little eye…a PowerDrive 6000ev. Find the PowerDrive 6000ev at Freightliner Custom Chassis booth #4447. Check out the PowerDrive drivetrain in an exposed chassis for a chance to really see the Cummins power.

PowerDrive 4000ev

I spy with my little eye…a PowerDrive 4000ev. Check out another Cummins electric drivetrain at Utilimaster booth #3049. The booth will feature the chassis leveraged by the Utilimaster Reach van powered by a Cummins all-electric drivetrain. I spy with my little eye…another Cummins PowerDrive. Cummins is providing the power for a third vehicle on display, BUT you’ll have to stop by the booth to find out where.

100 Years of Innovation and We’re Not Done Yet

Cummins has been a leader in innovation for 100 years, and we’re proud to be driving the industry forward as the leading provider of electrified power solutions. We’re excited to show off our electric vehicle technology, along with other Cummins products, at the 2019 Work Truck Show. We hope to see you there!

For more information on how Cummins is powering an “always on” world with electrification, read our news about electrified power.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins Partners with Purolator to Deliver on the Promise of Electrification

The Purolator-Cummins electric delivery truck is being tested on the streets of Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
The Purolator-Cummins electric delivery truck is being tested on the streets of Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

Purolator Courier Alexis Picard says it’s been cool to drive the all-electric test truck this summer that’s part of a joint project involving the Canadian package delivery company and Cummins. 

First, there is less heat in the cab, which has been nice on warm days in Ottawa. But he’s especially enjoyed the surprise on many of his customers’ faces when he pulls up to deliver something.

“People are expressing excitement toward me driving the vehicle,” Picard said. “But more people, I would say, are shocked when they see me driving a vehicle that doesn’t make any noise and they hear my sound system over the engine.

“It’s a bit of a nice feeling,” he adds with a smile.

The unassuming “VÉHICULE ÉLECTRIQUE” could be an important bridge to the low-carbon future both companies want. Having experimented with various forms of low carbon energy for much of the past decade, Purolator is looking for a powertrain that can realistically replace combustion engines in urban areas.

“It’s not just our customers but our employees who are pushing for change,” said Serge Viola, Purolator’s Director of Asset Management. “But any change must be reliable under all conditions. Our customers expect their packages will be delivered on time. That’s our business.”

For Cummins, the test truck is a chance to learn more about electrification, building on its wealth of experience in hybrid-electric engines as the company establishes a new Electrified Power business. Cummins wants to offer customers a broad product portfolio – including clean diesel, natural gas, hybrids and electrification – so they can choose what works best for them.

“Partnering with Purolator enabled us to be at the forefront of innovation and accelerate our learnings in the field,” said Julie Furber, Executive Director – Electrified Power at Cummins. “We have worked closely with Purolator on customer requirements to design and integrate the powertrain into this vehicle. We look forward to using our learnings on new development opportunities.”

Purolator driver Alexis Picard deliverse a package
Alexis Picard, who frequently drives the Purolator-Cummins electric truck, delivers a package in Ottawa.

KEY CHALLENGES

Purolator has experimented with a variety of approaches to incorporate alternative energy forms into delivery vehicles. The company had a fleet of diesel-electric hybrids, for example, and then experimented with a totally redesigned delivery vehicle that not only used electrified power but also improved driver ergonomics and used space more efficiently. The company even explored hydrogen as an energy source. 

But Purolator has never quite found the right combination of technology, reliability and manufacturing muscle in a partner to keep one of Canada’s most extensive transportation and logistics networks rolling in a new way.

For Viola, implementing electrification comes down to three key challenges:

•    Can the battery range be sufficient to keep vehicles running on some of Purolator’s longer urban routes?

•    Is there a company behind the vehicle with a demonstrated supply chain and service network to produce and service the number of electric vehicles Purolator needs?

•    And perhaps most importantly, what happens if the power goes out overnight at one of Purolator’s hubs?

“I don’t envision having enough off-the-grid generating power at any one site to charge-up 30 or 40 vehicles,” he said.  “We have to have a plan even in the unlikely event that the power goes out overnight at one of our facilities.”

So far, Purolator has been happy with the test truck, Viola said. But he wants to see how it performs on longer routes and in the coldest part of a Canadian winter.

Purolator truck on the highways of Ottawa
The Purolator-Cummins electric truck has logged more than 10,000 kilometers in development and field testing.

WHAT’S BEEN LEARNED

Cummins started work on electric powertrains long before the Electrified Power business started earlier this year. The partnership with Purolator, in fact, goes back to 2016. The test truck contains 12 battery modules totalling 62 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy.  The battery modules can be connected in LEGO-like fashion to store and release the energy that ultimately turns the vehicle’s wheels.  

The truck has logged about 5,304 km (3,296 miles) in field testing and another 6,000 km (3,728 miles) during development testing. On average, it has run about 35 km (21 miles) per day in temperatures ranging from 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) earlier this year to 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) over the summer.

Viola said the truck has been able to complete its route and get back to the garage for recharging with plenty of power to spare. The company has started putting it on a 70-km route to learn more about its limits.

“Our driver has been a little nervous coming back, but we’ve never had a problem,” he said.

Cummins’ plan is to run the test vehicle for 12 full months, gather as much information as possible, and use what is learned in the company’s future product offerings. Cummins has pledged to have an all-electric powertrain for urban buses on the market by the end of 2019. 

The company is focusing on the urban bus and truck markets initially because that’s where it thinks the infrastructure for electrification will develop first. Cummins believes it has the manufacturing expertise and service network to quickly play a leading role in the electrification market. 

While pleased with the test so far, Viola is reluctant to predict just when much of Purolator’s fleet will be electrified. He’s waiting for a partner that can build 300 to 400 trucks and meet the company’s key challenges, first.

Includes reporting by Katie Davage, Senior Communications Specialist - Electrified Power 
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. blair.claflin@cummins.com

 

Cummins puts Electrification Progress on Display

Cummins displayed an electric system for bus applications at the Busworld show in Izmir, Turkey.
Cummins displayed an electric system for bus applications at the Busworld show in Izmir, Turkey.

Cummins is moving quickly to develop the company’s new electrification business, displaying technologies it’s working on at trade shows this month in Paris and Izmir, Turkey.

The company’s Electrified Power business unveiled an electric system for city bus, shuttle and intercity bus applications at Busworld in Izmir, Turkey, last week (April 19-21). And the business is displaying its first electrified off-highway powertrain concept suitable for cranes, excavators and wheeled loaders at Intermat in Paris through Saturday (April 23-28).

Both could potentially deliver zero emissions technology to customers on a broad scale before the end of the decade or sooner.

“With our recent acquisitions of Brammo and Johnson Matthey Battery Systems (two battery companies), we are building capability across the entire range of electric storage,” said Julie Furber, Executive Director, Cummins Electrified Power. “We want to be as transparent as we can about where we’re headed so customers can see what’s coming and think about the Cummins technology that will work best for them.”

Cummins believes there is no single answer to the world’s power needs. Instead, the company wants to offer customers a range of technologies to help them succeed while addressing global needs such as reducing greenhouse gases.    

The displays at Busworld in Turkey and Intermat in France are merely the latest signs Cummins is determined to be the electrification leader in every market it serves. Less than a year ago the company unveiled AEOS, a fully electric, heavy-duty demonstration truck Cummins is using to study electrification. And it’s been less than six months since the company announced it was starting its Electrified Power business.

AEOS - Cummins heavy duty electric concept truck
Cummins' all-electric demonstration truck AEOS will help the company study electrification.

“We’re moving quickly, but we have a big advantage in that Cummins has been working on electrification for more than a decade,” Furber said. “We’ve manufactured hybrids like diesel-electric engines. We’ve brought to market engines using stop-start technology. So that gives us a significant head start compared to smaller companies without much experience scaling up a new product.”

Cummins has pledged to have an all-electric powertrain for the urban bus market by 2019, and off-highway applications will follow at a later date.


BUSWORLD IN TURKEY

The system that was on display at Busworld is configurable for either a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) or a range-extended electric vehicle (REEV), incorporating an engine-generator with a battery pack.

It uses a new Cummins 74-kWh battery pack with more space-efficient packaging, enabling easier bus integration with a format expandable to eight batteries. That would provide an operating range of up to 385 km (240 miles) on a single charge.
 
The Cummins designed and built batteries achieve a higher energy density and use a proprietary control technology to maintain battery charging for a longer range. Operational flexibility is provided with an integral plug-in connection for overnight or route-end charging, and options for on-route charging where the proper infrastructure exists.

“Our BEV and REEV electric architecture was designed to be fully adaptable for today’s diesel bus models,” said Cenk Yavuz, Cummins Territory Leader in Turkey. “This allows transport authorities to specify the same buses that work so well for them today with an electric system.”  

 

INTERMAT IN PARIS

Cummins is using virtual reality to demonstrate its first electrified off-highway powertrain concept at Intermat. Visitors will see how REEV would power a wheeled loader, used for excavating and carrying bulky material. The loader could be charged overnight, allowing two hours of operation per 35 kWh battery. More batteries would be required for longer zero emission operation.

REEV offers a balance of battery power with a compact engine-generator.  It has an F3.8 Stage V powered generator, giving much more flexibility where charging infrastructure is not available. Cummins’ BEV system is intended for the most environmentally challenged locations, suitable for applications such as drills, underground mine trucks and terminal tractors.

“Cummins is developing a portfolio of alternative power for the industrial market, including full electric and range extending electric drivelines,” Furber said. “These complement our Stage V clean diesels and enable us to offer the best solutions for our customers, whatever their needs.”

 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. blair.claflin@cummins.com

 

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