The zero-emissions semi truck is here, and it’s not sporting a Tesla logo.
Cummins, best known for building diesel engines that power pickup trucks, unveiled a fully electric heavy semi truck Tuesday, just weeks before Tesla shows off its own big rig.
The urban hauler tractor concept, dubbed AEOS, is designed to carry 44,000 pounds (22 tons) of payload for 100 miles before needing to be recharged. Because of its short range, AEOS is meant for urban delivery and short haul trips. For comparison, reports say Tesla’s upcoming electric semi truck will have 200 to 300 miles of range. Cummins says it takes an hour to recharge the AEOS’ giant 140-kWh battery but expects advancements in technology to bring the wait to just 20 minutes by 2020.
Instead of building its own vehicles, Cummins will offer its battery and driveline system to bus operators and commercial truck fleets starting in 2019. In 2020, it will offer a hybrid “extended range” version with a diesel engine that powers the generator. It is expected to offer 300 miles between charges and 50 percent fuel savings compared to current diesel hybrid trucks.
Cummins’ CEO Thomas Linebarger said its electric powertrain doesn’t make sense for Class 8 trucks, or 18-wheelers, because of their weight and the distance they need to travel.
Tesla is expected to unveil its own electric truck sometime in September. We don’t know too many details yet, but we suspect a longer range and autonomous capabilities will help it stand out, even if it just missed out on being the first of its kind.