By Julie Furber, Executive Director, Electrification Business, Cummins Inc.
Julie Furber, Executive Director, Electrification Business, Cummins Inc.
Our world is facing some significant challenges including climate change – and that means our industry is facing some of the biggest technical changes and challenges in our lifetime. These changes have two primary drivers: an evolution of technology with improved performance and improving cost, and a regulatory environment focused on reducing criteria pollutants, CO2, noise, water and other environmental impacts.
Energy diversity is key to the future as the world population grows. There will not be a one-size-fits-all solution – there is no perfect fuel source for every application and mission. In fact, a single power solution is not viable – we need many solutions to power a sustainable and prosperous world and to enable customers globally to do their work effectively and efficiently.
This pivotal time in our industry represents a challenge for Cummins, our competitors, and our customers. It is also a huge opportunity. Cummins is positioning ourselves for future growth and harnessing current and future technologies to deliver a broad range of power solutions to our customers.
For nearly 100 years Cummins has been successful by cultivating a deep understanding of the markets and the customers we serve. Over the past two decades, we have found business success by dedicating our research efforts to making our products better for the environment. In fact, among other things, that commitment led to the creation of our Emissions Solutions business, which today brings more than $2 billion in revenue to our company annually.
As the world deals with these real environmental challenges, it is more important than ever that we double down on our efforts to bring products to our customers that not only fuel their success, but also help reduce our collective environmental footprint.
We are focused on bringing our customers the right technology solutions at the right time to maximize the economic value offered. And we are ensuring these solutions are the most efficient, highest-performing and most reliable available, from diesel to natural gas to hybrid, to electric and fuel cell, to other technologies we are currently evaluating and developing.
We are already working with several of our customers on specific electrification projects and we have launched several research programs for key components of the electrified system. In August we also revealed our first fully electrified heavy-duty truck, Aeos, showing that we are serious about electrification.
In fact, we already have significant experience in the electrified powertrain space. We have long been the largest supplier of engines for hybrid commercial vehicles. Unlike many other companies in this space, we’ve been in electrification for decades.
Electrified solutions today are good choices for certain applications including urban bus fleets and pickup and delivery trucks. We have announced our plans to launch a fully electric powertrain by 2019 and a range-extended powertrain by 2020.
As regions of the world generate cleaner electricity, we expect this will become an increasingly-viable option for other customers and markets too, and we have pledged to be the best at innovating and deploying electrified technologies in the markets we serve.
However, electrification is not currently ready for some applications. When it is economically viable, we will be ready to bring these to our customers. However, now and in the foreseeable future, electrification will be one of a variety of power solutions we will bring to our customers to drive their success. We will continue with our commitment to deliver the right solutions to our customers.
To that point, clean diesel will continue to be important in many commercial markets for decades to come – heavy-duty trucking, rail, marine and many industrial applications. And Cummins will continue to be a leader in clean diesel. We are committed to constant innovation on the diesel engine, making it cleaner, more efficient and more reliable. The power density of diesel is unmatched, and we believe diesel will take many years to be fully replaced across the entire spectrum of products we provide.
Natural gas will also continue to be an important power source today and in the future. The technology has been tested and is mature. Ultralow NOx natural gas products have near zero emissions and help power customers like transit bus and refuse fleets around the world. Advances in natural gas products will help in places like the ports of Los Angeles as they struggle with air quality issues and in other municipalities addressing environmental concerns. And, we see great potential for natural gas in power generation markets as well.
Lastly, we know that our industries and markets continue to change and that’s why our research and engineering teams are working on a wide variety of solutions beyond these examples. We are exploring alternate fuels and technologies to ensure our long-term success and we make investments around the world, working with customers, government agencies and other industry partners to explore potential technology solutions and for possible entries into new markets or partnerships to grow our company.
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