Cummins gets grant to build hybrid class 6 vehicle

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Cummins announced that it was awarded a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50 percent over conventional Class 6 vehicles.

When fully loaded, Class 6 vehicles weigh between approximately 19,000 and 26,000 pounds. Typical examples include school buses or single axle work trucks.

Cummins researchers will select an engine to use as an electric commercial vehicle range extender. The engine will manage the charge level of the all-electric drive battery pack.

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The range extender will be integrated, using advanced vehicle controls, with the electrified powertrain and other applicable technologies, including electronic braking and intelligent transportation systems.

Ultimately, Cummins researchers aim to demonstrate improved fuel consumption and state of the art drivability and performance regardless of environmental conditions.

Cummins is partnering with PACCAR on the project. The full team includes representatives from The Ohio State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.

“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,” said Wayne Eckerle, vice president of research and technology at Cummins.

“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.”