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Cummins debuts hybrid PowerDrive

Service vehicle with Cummins PowerDrive hybrid system

The PowerDrive has a pure electric range of 80 km and a hybrid range of 480 km

Cummins has unveiled the PowerDrive, an advanced suite of plug-in hybrid electric powertrain solutions spanning light, medium and heavy-duty applications, at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show.

This further expands Cummins’ broad portfolio of low emissions and fuel-efficient power solutions that includes clean diesel, near-zero natural gas, and fully electric to help each customer’s distinct needs.

This unique hybrid system is centre stage at the Cummins booth in an electric hybrid utility truck, a Kenworth T370. As the most versatile hybrid system on the market today, 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 economics 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 Cummins PowerDrive system has travelled more than 6 million miles in a fleet setting in the US and China, and work is underway to introduce it to the European market in the near future. Its flexible architecture means the PowerDrive 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,” said Cummins executive director of electrified power Julie Furber.

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.

A US Class 6 truck powered by the PowerDrive with a 50-mile (80-km) electric range, realises reduced emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional vehicles. Similarly, fuel costs are reduced by between 40-80% depending on the drive cycle.

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