The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $4.5 million grant to Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) as part of an effort to develop a new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The company says the technology would be used in vehicles including school buses and single-axle work trucks.
Cummins is partnering with Washington State-based PACCAR Inc. on the project. PACCAR’s light, medium and heavy-duty truck nameplates include Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF. The rest of the team includes Ohio State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.
The goal is to develop a vehicle that consumes 50 percent less fuel than conventional "Class 6" vehicles. Cummins researchers’ role is to pick an engine that could optimize the powertrain of an integrated, electric commercial vehicle range-extender. The engine will manage the charge level of an all-electric drive battery pack.
Cummins Vice President of Research and Technology Wayne Eckerle says "the close integration and control of the electrified powertrain with an appropriately selected engine is critically important to developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system. We believe that through the team’s efforts we can soon make these innovations commercially available, which has the potential to translate into substantial savings annually per vehicle, helping our customers and the environment."
Cummins says the research team will aim to "demonstrate improved fuel consumption and state of the art drivability and performance regardless of environmental conditions."