Srikanth Padmanabhan, president of the engine business at Cummins. (Photo: Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner)

Cummins seeks to capitalize on future trucking trends

Sept. 25, 2017
“Dependability” and “innovation” are becoming the engine maker’s watchwords as it prepares to launch a new 15-liter heavy-duty engine in 2022.

ATLANTA. There are three main “disruptions” occurring within the trucking industry today, according to a presentation by Srikanth Padmanabhan, president of the engine business at Cummins Inc., here at the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show: energy diversity, connectivity, and automation.

And he believes Cummins must deliver “diversified, dependable technology solutions to our customers at the right time” in all three of those areas – even if they are not directly engine-related.

That’s one reason why Padmanabhan said Cummins forged a transmission development and production joint venture with Eaton Corp. back in April – a joint venture now beginning to bear fruit.

“The opportunities for this joint venture are huge – especially in the medium-duty segment,” he said.

Padmanabhan added that Cummins is planning to roll out a new 15-liter heavy-duty diesel engine in 2022 because, in his words, diesel engines will be “the best solution for decades to come,” noting that Cummins-branded diesels currently power 33% of the heavy-duty truck market and nearly 80% of the medium-duty truck market.

Yet he stressed that “energy diversity” means that customers will be looking for alternative and cheaper ways to power their vehicles.

“Cummins is prepared to help them be successful now and in the future by offering them powertrain choices that maximize efficiency and reduce costs,” Padmanabhan noted, adding that the company plans to display ultra-low emission natural gas engine technology from Cummins Westport and its AEOS all-electric heavy-duty truck at the show.

Connectivity will also be key going forward and is one reason why he said  Cummins formed a new internal organization led by Sherry Aaholm, the company’s chief information officer, back in May called the Digital Accelerator – an internal working group that seeks to streamline innovation, quickly bringing the best concepts from the idea stage to commercialization.

“It’s about giving the customer what they need, when they need it, instead of telling them what they will need to do,” Padmanabhan said.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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