Cummins Unveils Plug-in Hybrid ‘PowerDrive’

By T Murrali:

Cummins Inc, a global leader in the design, manufacture, distribution and service of a broad portfolio of power solutions, unveiled ‘PowerDrive,’ the advanced suite of plug-in hybrid electric powertrain for light, medium and heavy-duty applications, at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show. This expands the company’s broad portfolio of low emission and fuel-efficient power solutions that include clean diesel, near-zero natural gas, and fully-electric systems to help each customer’s distinct needs.
This unique hybrid system was presented in an electric hybrid utility truck, a Kenworth T370, in the Cummins booth. As a versatile hybrid system in the market, the Cummins PowerDrive offers both parallel and series capabilities.
The PowerDrive replaces the conventional transmission and switches, in real time, between two hybrid and two pure electric modes, optimising the powertrain for the best fuel economy in any driving situation. The vehicle is also configured with exportable grid quality electric power to recharge vehicles and a recovery crane operating on either electric or engine power take-off.
The system that was unveiled at the show, has travelled more than six million miles in a fleet setting in the US and China, and work is underway to introduce it to the European market. Due to its flexible architecture the system can be combined with various sizes of diesel or natural gas engines and battery pack outputs.
“With a 100-year-long track record of powering our customers’ success, Cummins demonstrates once again that we are transforming the future of transportation by offering our customers the broadest and most cutting-edge power portfolio backed by our expansive service capabilities,” Julie Furber, Cummins Executive Director of Electrified Power, said.

The Operation

The flexible hybrid architecture seamlessly shifts between pure electric for environmentally sensitive areas with a 50-mile (80 km) range and hybrid for jobs requiring more than 300 miles (480 km). 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.

Diesel With Low Emissions

The company also introduced innovations that will achieve a low nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions future and achieve a reduction in the carbon footprint, at the show. The technology display features a concept emissions control system capable of minimising emissions to levels previously thought unfeasible, including a possible next level of Euro-7 regulations anticipated during the coming decade. Combine this with the latest smart digital technologies and the company is representing the next leap forward in diesel engine evolution.
“This innovative system allows further reduction in NOx and PM emissions, while improving fuel efficiency,” Tim Proctor, Cummins Executive Director of Product Management and Market Innovation, said.
The concept emissions control system now under development by Cummins, combines the turbocharged air management with the exhaust after-treatment as a single close-coupled system, together with a new rotary turbine control (RTC). This new design fully utilises the company’s latest advances in air and thermal management to immediately convert almost all NOx emissions to clean gas as it interacts with the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) unit.
Advancement in hardware is not the only area of progress, Cummins continues to innovate with a smart connected suite of wireless monitoring, reporting, calibrating and servicing applications to help boost vehicle uptime and reduce the total cost of ownership. It is looking ahead to accelerate digital technology with over-the-air trim and parameter calibration, empowering fleet managers with the ability to customise power and speed settings to match unique business needs and driver behaviours, road conditions and geographic coordinates.
The company’s ADEPTTM technology suite also releases the full potential of powertrain automation to make every driver an expert and improve fuel efficiency by up to six percent. Features such as Predictive Cruise Control utilise the vehicle GPS to see the road two kilometre ahead and precisely adjust speed ready for the upcoming terrain. SmartCoast places the driveline into neutral on downhill gradients using vehicle momentum to save fuel, while SmartTorque2 constantly calculates the exact torque needed for the truck payload to minimise downshifting.

Acquires EDI

Last July Cummins acquired the Silicon Valley-based Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), which designs and produces hybrid and fully- electric power solutions for commercial markets. Adding EDI to its portfolio is the latest step forward in Cummins’ efforts to become a global electrified power leader. “As power needs and technologies continue to evolve, Cummins remains committed to innovations that will deliver the right power solutions for the right applications at the right time to help our customers’ succeed. This acquisition will combine EDI’s talented workforce and electrification capabilities with Cummins’ expertise in developing and manufacturing the technologies that power the world,” Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO, Cummins Inc, said.
The company began developing its electrification capabilities more than a decade ago. During the past nine months, it accelerated investment in this business when it undertook strategic efforts to build capabilities across the entire range of electric storage, as evidenced by the acquisitions of UK-based Johnson Matthey Battery Systems and North America-based Brammo. Upon the addition of its fully-electric and unique four-mode hybrid powertrains, EDI will broaden Cummins’ electrification expertise and products. EDI’s hybrid, a versatile system in the market, is able to switch, in real time, between fully electric, series and parallel modes.

Collaboration With KAMAZ

Cummins has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KAMAZ for the development of electrified power solutions for a new product line of battery-powered vehicles to be manufactured by the OEM. Both the companies have a 50/50 joint venture, Cummins KAMA, producing ISB series engines since 2006 and ISL series engines since 2017.
The vehicle maker is developing a new electrified portfolio of battery-powered trucks and buses, and Cummins continues to expand its powertrain portfolio by developing electric power systems (fully electric and hybrid type) for commercial applications.
Based on the long-term productive partnership of the companies, both the companies agreed to collaborate to create electrified-power trucks and buses. Cummins intends to develop and supply to the vehicle manufacturer high-voltage fully electric powertrain prototypes with applications for city buses and medium range delivery trucks. The MoU also provides for development and supply of the hybrid transmission prototype designed for KAMAZ heavy duty trucks.
“Today, our company is actively engaged in developing electrified-power cars and passenger transport. We seek the wide technical capabilities and potential of our long-standing partner, Cummins. We see Cummins as an integral part in the implementation of our new projects – there is the need for high-quality electric transmissions,” Sergey Kogogin, KAMAZ CEO, said.
The prototypes will be tested on KAMAZ city buses, medium range delivery trucks and heavy-duty trucks. After tests, enhancement and certification, the partners will consider potential market size in the product segments and define the perspective of their further cooperation.

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