Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) is partnering with Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) in Illinois on the development of a new class 8 truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The manufacturer says the project is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
In August, Cummins received nearly $7 million from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to enhance the “economic viability of fuel cell powertrain solutions for heavy-duty applications.” More than half of the funding will support the Navistar partnership.
Cummins says the prototype fuel cell class 8 truck developed through the project will ultimately be field tested over the period of a year. It will be integrated into Nebraska-based Werner Enterprises’ fleet of more than 7,700 tractors.
“Testing the vehicle in real-world conditions will help paint a full picture of how the system performs over challenging road conditions, including both hot and cold climates,” said Scott Reed, vice president of fleet purchasing and maintenance for Werner, which has a terminal in Indianapolis. “In addition to that performance data, we are excited about the opportunity to provide feedback from Werner professional drivers, mechanics and fleet management to help the project team develop a comprehensive total cost of ownership analysis.”
The funding is part of the DOE’s H2@Scale initiative, which was created to develop affordable hydrogen production, storage, distribution and use.
Amy Davis, president of new power at Cummins, says the partnership with Navistar is the continuation of an 80-year relationship between the two companies.
“This vehicle will feature our next generation fuel cell configuration and provides a springboard for us to advance our hydrogen technology for line haul trucks,” Davis said in a news release. “We are also excited to build on our strong relationship with Navistar…and work together to lower costs and make hydrogen-powered vehicles more accessible for fleets to adopt.”
Cummins says the goal is to achieve, meet or exceed conventional diesel powertrain performance requirements and reduce the upfront capital costs by 35%. The company says doing so would help make the adoption of zero-emission fuel cell technologies more viable to commercial fleets.