At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, US motor manufacturer Cummins presented a new heavy-duty truck concept with a fuel cell system scalable from 90 to 180 kW as a technology demonstrator.
Cummins emphasises that the truck was developed in-house without the help of partners. However, the fuel cell system uses the technology of Hydrogenics, a company acquired by Cummins in July. The truck reaches at least 90 kW, whereby the output of the fuel cell drive can be increased up to 180 kW in 30 kW or 45 kW increments. Besides, there is a 100 kWh battery so that a range of 150 to 250 miles (around 240 to 400 km) is possible. According to Cummins, additional hydrogen tanks or an extra fuel cell can be installed depending on the application. The pressure of the H2 storage system is also variable to a certain degree, the manufacturer says.
Cummins mentions municipal delivery services or uses in ports and container terminals as preferred fields of application for fuel cell trucks. “Developing this cutting-edge hydrogen fuel cell truck as a technology demonstrator is an important step in gaining valuable insights that are critical to continue developing the right solutions for the market (…),” says Thad Ewald, head of the company’s Electrified Power division.
Just recently, Cummins also started a cooperation with Hyundai in fuel cell technology. The cooperation aims to develop and market electric drives for commercial vehicles jointly, Cummins announced at the end of September. The aim is to combine Hyundai’s FC systems with Cummins’ electric drive, battery and control technologies. Hyundai itself presented the concept of a futuristic fuel cell truck at the commercial vehicle show in Atlanta.
While the US manufacturer Cummins, who has been known primarily for diesel engines up to now, is fond of new drive technologies, they do not want to scare away supporters of conventional drive types. The Americans emphasise their strategy is to offer customers a broad portfolio “from diesel and natural gas engines to hybrid and electric platforms, as well as related technologies, including battery systems, fuel systems”. The aim is to help customers make the transition from one technology to another at the time that is best for their business, Cummins phrase diplomatically.
The fact is that the US manufacturer, which presented the prototype of an electric truck in 2017 and also joined the Hydrogen Council last year, has already made several acquisitions in the field of e-mobility. In October 2017, Cummins acquired the former electric motorcycle manufacturer and current battery specialist Brammo, followed in February 2018 by the acquisition of Johnson Matthey’s UK business specializing in electric and hybrid vehicles, before Cummins acquired Efficient Drivetrains in July 2018 and Hydrogenics in July of this year as mentioned above.
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