This Cummins concept just pipped Tesla to the first electric lorry

Last year, Elon Musk revealed Tesla was working on an all-new electric lorry – and even got so far as teasing a picture of the new project. However, it looks like Tesla won’t be the first company to give us an electric truck after all. Instead that falls to Cummins, an American manufacturer best known for producing robust diesel engines.

This Cummins concept just pipped Tesla to the first electric lorry

Earlier this week, Cummins revealed its new Urban Hauler Tractor concept, which looks like a pure electric beast. Cummins says it could be here as early as 2019, and it boasts some impressive numbers. The new concept is a class 7 semi, weights 18,000 pounds and is designed to move goods locally over short hauls. And that’s mainly because it only has around 100 miles of range.

Despite its somewhat short range, the new concept can still carry up to 44,000 pounds of payload, and it only takes an hour to charge its 140kWh battery back at an 140kWh charging station. Like most electric vehicles, the Cummins uses regenerative braking and rolling resistance – like the B-Mode in a Nissan Leaf or Volvo XC90 T8 – to eke out extra range.

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According to CNET, Cummins will also offer a range-extender version of the concept truck, which will use a diesel engine to recharge the battery on the fly. That should extend the range to around the 300-mile mark, and cut emissions by half – and it’ll also make the EV lorry more suitable for long-haul jobs.

Because Cummins makes powertrains and not whole vehicles, it’s enlisted the help of Roush Industries to actually build and assemble the new lorries.


Electric lorries

While we may be seeing new tech such as driverless systems and electric powertrains in cars, there’s a strong argument these technologies will benefit commercial vehicles the most. Driverless lorries could reduce accidents over long journeys, and electric lorries will also be far better for the environment than their diesel counterparts.

That’s one of the reasons why Tesla is already committed to entering the commercial vehicle space. It may have been beaten to the punch by Cummins, but when Tesla’s electric lorry does arrive, it should be an impressive piece of machinery. Rumours of a 300-mile range – on pure battery power – already give it the edge over the Cummins, and other rumours suggest Tesla will unveil its new project within the next few weeks.

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