Cummins showed off a Kenworth T370 with its PowerDrive hybrid powertrain.
 - Photo: Jack Roberts

Cummins showed off a Kenworth T370 with its PowerDrive hybrid powertrain.

Photo: Jack Roberts

Cummins unveiled its PowerDrive suite of plug-in hybrid electric solutions on a functional Kenworth T370 utility truck at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover, Germany.

PowerDrive replaces the conventional transmission and switches in real time between two hybrid and pure electric modes, optimizing the powertrain for the best fuel economy in any situation. The hybrid utility truck featured a recovery crane that could operate off of either engine power take-off or electric power. The vehicle is also configured with exportable grid quality electric power to recharge other vehicles.

The PowerDrive hybrid system is designed for light, medium, and heavy-duty applications and it can be paired with various sizes of diesel or natural gas engines and battery pack outputs. So far, vehicles using the system have travelled over 6 million miles in a fleet setting in the U.S. and China. Work is underway to introduce it to the European market in the near future.

The flexible hybrid architecture shifts between pure electric with a 50-mile range and hybrid for jobs requiring more than 300 miles of range. It operates as a hybrid in either series or parallel configuration modes. Series is better suited to low speeds and urban driving while parallel is ideal for higher road speeds on the highway.

In a series hybrid, the electric motor is the only means of providing power to the wheels. The motor receives electric power from either the battery pack or from the engine generator. In a parallel hybrid, the engine and electric motor combine to provide the power that drives the wheels. The third mode of electric plus comes online when higher energy is required when the system senses gradient climbing or acceleration for overtaking.

The Kenworth T370 with PowerDrive 6000 is paired with a Cummins B6.7 engine. The service vehicle was commissioned by Cummins to support EV and PHEV vehicle field tests and pilot routes. It features three vehicle charging stations with direct charging cables from the truck to the PHEV or EV vehicle requiring charging.  A Class 6 truck powered by PowerDrive can realize reduced emissions of up to 80%, according to Cummins, and can also reduce fuel costs.

“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. “Cummins is ready to offer the new PowerDrive suite through our OEM partners. We look forward to discussing how the PowerDrive’s compact packaging envelope and weight saving benefits will enable OEMs to produce PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) vehicles for diverse needs without compromising performance or range.”

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