New brand, new era: Cummins rebrands new power business as Accelera

Cummins Inc.’s new power business is taking on a new name as the company seeks to emphasize its portfolio of zero emissions technologies and its strategy to remain competitive during the energy transition.

The Columbus-based company announced Wednesday that its new power business segment will now be called Accelera by Cummins. The rebranding, which includes a logo and color scheme, is meant to “shine a bright light” on the products the business segment currently offers and “the strong position that we plan to take in the market of zero emissions solutions for the future,” company officials said.

Cummins President and CEO Jennifer Rumsey unveiled the new name Wednesday during an event at the Rubell Museum in Washington, D.C. Rumsey was joined by Amy Davis, who has led the new power business since 2020 and will serve as president of Accelera.

The part of the business that has been been rechristened Accelera includes Cummins’ growing electrified power and hydrogen portfolio and represents much of its efforts to invest in technologies that seek to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The business segment, which employs about 2,000 people worldwide, will continue to be headquartered in Columbus, company officials said.

“Cummins is well known for our engine solutions,” Rumsey said Wednesday during the event. “What people may not recognize is that we have a leading position today in these zero emissions technologies and really have built up our capability. It’s time that we are recognized as both an engines solutions provider and also a zero emissions solutions provider for commercial and industrial applications.”

The launch of Accelera is the latest effort from Cummins to declare itself as a leader in zero emissions technologies and secure its place in a world that is shifting away from the fossil fuels that the company’s engines have traditionally used.

Filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office suggest that Cummins may have been considering the move for at least a year. The company trademarked Accelera in March 2022, federal records show. Cummins also made separate filings related to Accelera this past January.

The business segment has undergone two name changes since Cummins added it as the company’s fifth segment in early 2018. Initially, the segment was called “Electrified Power,” which sought to “design, manufacture, sell and support electrified power systems ranging from fully electric to hybrid,” according to the company’s first quarter 2018 report.

In 2019, former Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger announced that the segment was being renamed “New Power” after the company added hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen generation to its portfolio.

Currently, the business segment makes up a small percentage of Cummins’ total revenue, though the segment’s revenue before interest and tax is growing, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last year, the new power business reported $198 million in sales, up from $116 in 2020 and $72 million the year before that, according to the company’s annual reports. And company officials have said they expect the business segment’s revenue to continue growing in the coming years.

Rumsey said Wednesday that the company is projecting Accelera will generate $350 million to $400 million in revenue. Last year, company officials unveiled an annual revenue target for the business segment of $6 billion to $13 billion by the end of the decade.

“We’ve been investing a lot and building up the new power business … and really feel at this point feel like it’s time to launch Accelera by Cummins to really shine a bright light on what we have today and the strong position that we plan to take in the market of zero emissions solutions for the future,” Rumsey told The Republic. “…I think we’re well-known for engine-based solutions. By launching Accelera by Cummins, it makes our position in this market of zero emissions technologies clearer.”

The announcement comes as the diesel industry finds itself at a crossroads of sorts now, as alternative fuel technology grows in viability and concerns about catastrophic climate change continue to reshape how companies and policy makers think about energy consumption.

Diesel fuel is refined from crude oil and is used to fuel compression-ignition engines named after their inventor, Rudolf Diesel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Most freight and delivery trucks, buses, farm and construction vehicles, as well as some cars and pick-up trucks, use diesel engines, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.

But that is expected to change in the coming decades, with the industry accelerating toward number of more environmentally-friendly fuel types and power sources, including, among others, battery electric, hydrogen and natural gas engines.

How the transition plays out and could have major implications for a city like Columbus, whose economy is heavily rooted in automotive manufacturing, and for the industry as a whole.

Last year, Cummins outlined its long-term growth strategy, with company executives describing the energy transition as a “growth opportunity” for Columbus’ largest employer.

The strategy largely involves investing in and producing technology that company officials believe will play a key role in the path to zero emissions, including a broad range of clean diesel and other lower-emission technologies, company officials said.

The company said Wednesday that it has invested more than $1.9 billion in research and technology, capital and acquisitions to build Accelera’s leadership and technological capabilities over the past several years.

The business segment is currently in the early stages of commercializing these technologies with efforts primarily focused on the development of electrolyzers for hydrogen production and electrified power systems and related components and subsystems, according to the company’s 2022 annual report.

Electrolyzers use electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be used to generate power.

“We have ambitions to grow this business significantly, and this (new brand) provides an opportunity for us to move into areas like electrolyzers that others don’t recognize Cummins as a player in because historically we’ve been in the transportation and mobility space,” Srikanth Padmanabhan, president of Cummins’ engine business, told The Republic. “This now provides a venue (through) which to say not only is Cummins in the transportation and mobility space, it is also is in the electrolyzer space.”

Wednesday’s announcement wasn’t the first time that Cummins has renamed part or all of its business. In 2001, the company, which was initially called Cummins Engine Co., renamed itself Cummins Inc. as “a recognition that Cummins is more than an engine company,” former Cummins Chairman and CEO Tim Solso told The Republic around the time of the name change.

Rumsey, for her part, said Cummins has a “pretty broad” portfolio of zero emissions technologies — and expects that footprint to keep growing.

“We have today more than 500 battery electric powertrains in operation in commercial vehicle applications. We have more than 2,000 fuel cells operating in different applications — trucks, trains, boats — (and) 600 electrolyzers. So, Cummins has a pretty broad footprint already of zero emissions technologies, and it’s growing,” Rumsey said.