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Roeth: Working together for the environment and profit

Sept. 27, 2023
Three competitors—Cummins, Daimler, and Paccar—are partnering on EV battery production, exemplifying what progress can be made when trucking stakeholders work together.

In all the excitement surrounding the start of Run on Less–Electric Depot, the news about the Cummins-Daimler-Paccar joint venture slipped by me.

In case you too missed the announcement, Accelera by Cummins, the zero-emissions business unit of Cummins Inc., Daimler Truck, and Paccar are partnering to accelerate and localize battery cell production and the battery supply chain in the United States.

See also: Cummins, Daimler, Paccar partner on EV battery production

The joint venture is going to begin by focusing on lithium-iron-phosphate battery technology for commercial battery electric trucks. According to the press release, “The LFP battery cells produced by the joint venture will be able to offer several advantages compared to other battery chemistries, including lower cost, longer life, and enhanced safety, without the need for nickel and cobalt raw materials.”

There has been concern about the long-term availability of some of the raw materials that go into the lithium-ion batteries that are used on today’s battery electric trucks.

While the details of the joint venture and their plans are interesting, what I am most excited about is the cooperation among the three companies especially given the fact that they are competitors.

The release went on to say, “This strategic joint venture enables its owners to create the necessary scale for access to cost-effective and differentiated battery cell technology, ultimately creating value for commercial vehicle customers in North America.”

I have long been talking about the need for cooperation across a broad range of stakeholders when it comes to accelerating the adoption of battery-electric trucks, and the industry faces a host of challenges when it comes to large scale deployment of these vehicles. I believe all those challenges can be overcome, but I also believe the best way to tackle the challenges is through the cooperation of a number of different groups including fleets, truck and component manufacturers, utilities, regulators, charger manufacturers—the list goes on.

This recent announcement from Cummins, Daimler, and Paccar  is a good example of how companies can work together for the good of trucking. And I am guessing it will be a profitable arrangement for the three companies as well.

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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