Powertrains are the heart of vehicles as they constitute the components that generate power and deliver them to the road. Cummins Inc., a U.S.-based Fortune 500 company, is well-known for designing, manufacturing, and distributing diesel- and natural gas-powered engines. To diversify its product portfolio, its chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger has announced the company’s entry into the electric powertrain thrust last year:
“We will be the leader in electrified powertrains for urban transportation… We are not just a diesel engine company. We believe we know that applications we serve, on- and off-highway, better than anyone else. As new technologies come in we can bring them to market in the right way for our customers.”
Cummins’ Plans in India
Cummins’ senior executive recently spoke to Reuters that the company will be hiring a group of Indian engineers to develop their current electric powertrain technology, which was originally made for buses. The main objective is to make the technology more relevant for emerging markets.
The American engine maker will also be setting up a testing facility in India after the development stage of its powertrain technology. This is according to Julie Furber, Cummins executive director for electrification, ‘during India’s biennial auto show held near the country’s capital, New Delhi.
Why Cummins Chose India?
In 2011, the Indian government approved the National Mission n Electric Mobility, which aims to encourage affordable, reliable, and efficient electric vehicles. Their National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 that was revealed two years later announced to target achieving 6 to 7 million of electric vehicles units by 2020. This electric mobility approach is believed to give the country a $60-billion savings by 2030.
This investment strategy of Cummins was made after India committed to an ambitious goal for climate change act – that is, to electrify all new vehicles in the country by 2030, including mass public transportation, such as buses and taxis.
“There are unique challenges in India with the way vehicles are operated and the kind of traffic there is in cities. It will be a good learning base for us,” Furber explained. What Cummins could develop in India would also be relevant for the emerging markets of other nations that will also be pursuing electrification of vehicles.
According to Furber, as soon as India comes up with protocols for electric vehicles and customers start embracing the new system, Cummins will subsequently invest in setting up manufacturing in the country. Last September, Cummins India stated that commercial vehicle makers in the country asked the engine maker to seek for electric mobility solutions.
Over the next three years, Cummins will be allotting an investment worth $500 million to develop an electrified powertrain product line, and the Indian engineers that will be hired for the powertrain technology development project will also do work for other global markets.
Furber has mentioned last year in a media teleconference that “Longer term, electrification will come to all of our markets. We are looking into mild hybridization to gain efficiency, but fully electrified powertrains for long-haul vehicles is a way out into the future.