Cummins acquires stake in natural gas fuel systems company

Cummins Inc. has completed a deal to acquire a 50% stake in a division of dealership giant Rush Enterprises Inc., creating a joint venture between the two companies to produce natural gas delivery systems for commercial vehicles in North America.

On Tuesday, Cummins, which is headquartered in Columbus and employs about 8,000 people in the area, announced that it had closed on a deal to acquire a 50% equity interest in Momentum Fuel Technologies, which manufactures compressed natural gas fuel systems at a facility in Texas.

The joint venture seeks to enhance production of near-zero emissions natural gas powertrains by manufacturing Cummins-branded natural gas fuel delivery systems for the commercial vehicle market in North America, the two companies said.

Formed in 2015, Momentum Fuel Technologies is a division of Rush Enterprises, which says it owns and operates the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in the United States, with 139 locations in 23 states selling a range of truck and bus brands, including Peterbilt, International, Hino, Isuzu, Ford, FUSO, IC Bus and Blue Bird.

The two companies had previously announced Cummins’ intent to acquire a stake in Momentum Fuel Technologies this past June. The terms of the deal were not disclosed Tuesday.

“This collaboration shows Cummins’ continued commitment to natural gas powertrains and this partnership will expand and improve the service and support for (compressed natural gas) and (renewable natural gas) customers,” Srikanth Padmanabhan, president of the engine business at Cummins, said in a statement. “The partnership will help us bring to market the highest quality, clean and efficient natural gas products, including the 15-liter natural gas engine we announced in October.”

The acquisition is the latest in a series of joint ventures and acquisitions by Cummins involving natural gas, hydrogen or electric power in recent years. The joint venture also comes as the diesel industry finds itself at a crossroads of sorts, as alternative fuel technology grows in viability and concerns about climate change continue to reshape how companies and policy makers think about energy consumption.

In a statement on the acquisition and joint venture with Cummins, Rush Enterprises Chairman, CEO and President W.M. “Rusty” Rush said the environmental and economic benefits of renewable natural gas vehicles, as well as the environmental sustainability goals of the two companies’ customers and upcoming regulatory requirements, “will drive growth for the foreseeable future.”