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Paired with a Cummins B6.7 diesel engine, the PowerDrive 6000 system replaces the conventional transmission in a Kenworth T370 utility truck on display at the IAA event. (image: Dan Gilkes)

Cummins unveils PowerDrive hybrid-electrics, Euro 7 diesel concept

As vehicle and equipment manufacturers continue to move away from pure diesel power, Cummins has unveiled a suite of plug-in hybrid-electric powertrain solutions under the PowerDrive banner. Taking center stage at the recent IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover, Germany, the system was featured in an electric hybrid version of a Kenworth T370 utility truck.

Paired with a Cummins B6.7 diesel engine, the PowerDrive 6000 system replaces the conventional transmission in the Class 6 truck. The flexible hybrid architecture shifts between pure electric drive and a choice of parallel or series hybrid drive modes, to suit the operation. PowerDrive offers a pure electric range of up to 50 miles (80 km), while the hybrid drive extends that to more than 300 miles (480 km) of driving.

Series hybrid operation, where the electric motor is the only means of providing power to the wheels, is best suited to lower road speeds, for urban driving with stop/start conditions. The motor takes electric power from the batteries or from the engine-generator. The parallel hybrid operation is said to be ideal for higher road speeds, when the engine and the electric motor combine to provide the power to drive the wheels. A third mode, called electric plus, comes online when higher energy is required, for instance when the system senses a gradient or the driver calls for acceleration to overtake.

Cummins claims that a U.S. Class 6 truck like the Kenworth T370, featuring PowerDrive, can see exhaust emissions reductions of up to 80% when compared to a standard diesel truck. Similarly, fuel costs could be cut by 40-80%, depending on the drive cycle. The utility truck had been equipped with a recovery crane, that could be operated using either the diesel engine power take-off, or an electric drive from the battery pack. In addition, the vehicle is capable of providing grid-quality electric power to recharge other vehicles, through a 100-kW fast charger or a 6.6-kW standard charge port.

“The Cummins PowerDrive is intelligent, versatile and compact, providing our on-highway customers the flexibility needed to meet the demands of their diverse jobs and markets,” said Julie Furber, Cummins executive director of electrified power.

Diesel not neglected: Euro 7 Vision

Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger also pointed the way forward for conventional diesel drive at the show, by unveiling a Euro 7 Vision emissions-standard concept. The concept emissions control system, which is still under development, combines the turbocharged air management with the exhaust aftertreatment as a single close-coupled system, together with a new rotary turbine control. This brings together Cummins’ latest advances in air and thermal management to convert almost all NOx emissions to clean gas, as it interacts with the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) unit.

“While Cummins has a vigorous electrification program under way, our other key message at IAA is that the diesel engine is not standing still,” said Linebarger.

“With our technical developments, we see diesel remaining as the primary source of power in the commercial vehicle sector for the foreseeable future,” he added.

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