Rolf Lockwood

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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Electric Avenues: Cummins sees future in diversity

COLUMBUS, IN -- If you're one of those who's been thinking that Cummins is a dead duck, and that's been the tone of more than a few conversations I've joined over recent years, think again. Nothing could be further from the truth. First off, the company presently maintains an 80% market share in the North American medium-duty market, more than 90% of the school and transit bus markets, and still a decent lead on the class-8 side of things with something like a 40% share through June of this year. Dead in the water? Not exactly. Globally, the company is very strong. In 2015 it manufactured more than a million engines in the heavy-duty, mid-range, and light-duty markets -- from 50 to 650 hp -- and nearly half of them were from its joint-venture partner plants around the world.

Surprise! Cummins goes electric

COLUMBUS, IN - In a dramatic demonstration of technological agility, Cummins finished off a press conference here yesterday by unveiling its all-electric, zero-emissions class-7 tractor. Obviously, it's a first for the 98-year-old diesel manufacturer that wants to become known as a powertrain provider, not an engine builder. It was a surprise to many, even to those of us who knew electric power was in the cards at Cummins, as well as being a small slap in the face to Tesla, which has been threatening to introduce an electric tractor next month. Called the 'AEOS' electric commercial vehicle demonstrator, and built by Roush on what seems to be an International ProStar base, it's a working 4x2 regional hauler, not just a concept shell. Cummins sees its role in vocational applications like urban delivery, port drayage, and terminal container handling. It's claimed to achieve over 30 miles per gallon in diesel-equivalent terms while accelerating 25-35% faster than the same tractor powered by an 11- or 12-liter diesel (depending on rear-axle ratios, of course).

Surprise! Cummins goes electric

COLUMBUS, IN - In a dramatic demonstration of technological agility, Cummins finished off a press conference here yesterday by unveiling its all-electric, zero-emissions class-7 tractor. Obviously, it's a first for the 98-year-old diesel manufacturer that wants to become known as a powertrain provider, not an engine builder. It was a surprise to many, even to those of us who knew electric power was in the cards at Cummins, as well as being a small slap in the face to Tesla, which has been threatening to introduce an electric tractor next month. Called the 'AEOS' electric commercial vehicle demonstrator, and built by Roush on what seems to be an International ProStar base, it's a working 4x2 regional hauler, not just a concept shell. Cummins sees its role in vocational applications like urban delivery, port drayage, and terminal container handling. It's claimed to achieve over 30 miles per gallon in diesel-equivalent terms while accelerating 25-35% faster than the same tractor powered by an 11- or 12-liter diesel (depending on rear-axle ratios, of course).

IN PRINT — Gold Star: Western Star turns 50

TORONTO, ON -- Western Star Trucks is now 50 years old, an iconic brand in Canada, if a little less so in the U.S. That difference isn't surprising because the truck was born here when White Motor Company built a plant in Kelowna, B.C., and launched what was called the White Western Star. A tough truck, it was essentially hand-built, and if you wanted holes in the frame here as opposed to there, you had only to ask. Its initial target was the forestry world. A logging truck par excellence, as it remains, it also found favor in the oil patch and in mines.

Western Star Expands XD Lineup

PHOENIX, AZ -- Western Star has introduced a new member in its line of XD OffRoad trucks, the XD-25. It's a 25-ton hauler aimed at smaller off-road applications, such as construction, mining, and quarry site hauling. Despite its size and bulk, it can manage on-the-road speeds up to 65 mph or 105 km/h, so in some cases it can be treated as an on/off-road machine. While it looks something like a 4900, much more steel is involved in its construction. It's by no means a converted highway truck. The XD-25 presently comes with a 14-liter Detroit Series 60 Tier 3 engine mated to Allison Off Road Series transmissions and planetary gear sets. The motor will be replaced by year-end with a Detroit DD13.