At the recent Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles Symposium in Knoxville, Tennessee (via Green Car Congress), engine manufacturer Cummins outlined two plug-in hybrid projects for heavy commercial vehicles.
The first project, in partnership with Ohio State University, PACCAR, NREL and Argonne National Laboratory, is a Class 6 plug-in hybrid truck that the company says will reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% compared to legacy vehicles. Cummins researchers will optimize the powertrain by selecting the engine with the best architecture to use as a range extender.
The second project, in partnership with TM4, STL (the public transit system for the city of Laval, Québec) and the Innovative Vehicle Institute, is developing two different models of a plug-in hybrid bus, using different battery chemistries and charging schemes. The plan is to evaluate the two chemistries – LTO and NMC – side-by-side for a year.
“One bus will be LTO, the other bus will be NMC,” said Cummins Director of Electromobility Programs Gary Parker. “We’ll be watching these chemistries and learning from them. We might say both are needed for the market, or we might say that one is a clear winner.”
LTO batteries feature high power capacity and good durability, Parker said. NMC has double the energy capacity and lower cost, but carries risk in performance and durability.
The buses will use an on-board 20 kW charger for off-duty charging, and a 450 kW charger as an external en route fast charger.
“Cummins is well positioned to take electromobility across markets,” said Parker. “The PHEV range extender will be a robust solution in certain markets – we certainly see that in bus. Truck and bus have a different set of customers, different expectations; we’ll be trying to understand that better. Building the right charging infrastructure will be important.”