Cummins gets $4.5 million grant

Cummins Inc. has received a $4.5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50 percent over conventional Class 6 vehicles.

Typical examples of a Class 6 vehicle would be school buses or single-axle work trucks weighing 19,000 to 26,000 pounds when fully loaded, Cummins representatives said in a news release.

Cummins, based in Columbus, is partnering with PACCAR, which designs and manufactures light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates for the project.

PACCAR, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines and distributes truck parts related to its business, its website states.

Cummins researchers will work to optimize the powertrain by selecting an engine with the best architecture to use as an electric commercial vehicle range extender, the news release states. The researchers hope to use the engine to manage the charge level of the all-electric battery pack. The range extender would be integrated, using advanced vehicle controls, with the electrified powertrain and other technologies.

The close integration and control of the electrified powertrain with an appropriately selected engine is critically important to developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system, said Wayne Eckerle, vice president, research and technology at Cummins.

The work will make the innovations commercially available, with the potential to translate into substantial savings annually per vehicle, which helps customers and the environment, Eckerle said in the news release.

Class 6 commercial hybrid vehicle partners

To learn more about Cummins, visit

To learn more about PACCAR, visit

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.