Dominant diesel engine manufacturer Cummins just beat Tesla by unveiling the AEOS Urban Hauler Tractor as the first all-electric big rig.
With Congress set to vote on September 6 to approve the national deployment of autonomous vehicles on September 6, Cummins Inc. and Roush Clean Tech introduced their AEOS all-electric heavy-duty commercial tractor.
The U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee put the deployment of autonomous (self-driving) vehicles on the fast-track in July by unanimously approving a bill that would give qualified manufacturers exemptions from auto safety standards to deploy up to 25,000 autonomous vehicles immediately, and up to 100,000 over three years. The bill nationalizes self-driving regulations by pre-empting the current jumble of state rules.
Breitbart News reported in April that the “Tesla Semi” all-electric big-rig tractor, which expected to debut in September, would be the first existential threat to International Longshore and Warehouse Union members that make up to $1,200 a day by slowing down the loading and unloading of cargoes at the 27 West Coast ports that stretch from San Diego to Alaska.
But Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk presented his Master Plan to provide autonomous class 7 and class 8 big-rig tractors that could run on electric power while lining up to move containers or pre-loaded trailers over short distances.
Given that robot trucks do not demand overtime premiums or double time on weekends and holidays, Trucking.com projects that a substantial percentage of the 3.63 million class 7 and class 8 diesel-powered commercial trucks on the road in 2016 would eventually become autonomous and have all-electric power or idling capabilities.
The top diesel power train manufacturer on the planet is America’s Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI). The company produces the most reliable and fuel efficient heavy-duty class 7 and class 8 commercial truck engines. Its ISX15 engine is North America’s most popular turbo-diesel, delivering up to 600 horsepower and 2,050 pound-feet of torque, and hauling about twice the mileage of the average big rig on U.S. roads.
Cummins and its partner Roush maintained a high level of secrecy regarding the AEOS all-electric concept truck until its August 29 unveiling in Columbus, Indiana. Its class 7 Urban Hauler Tractor can commercially move 2 tons of freight up to 100-miles.
The first AEOS tractor features a 140 kWh battery pack, has the pulling torque of a 12-liter gas-engine, is equipped with electric vehicle-requisite regenerative braking system to give back energy whenever braking occurs, and offers solar roof panels to extend its range.
For the first time, Cummins also displayed its revolutionary ”near-zero” natural gas engine technology, which will be available in 2022 for X12 and X15 configurations.