Cummins engine boss vows to offer customers “power of choice”

ATLANTA, Ga. – Cummins is uniquely positioned to offer customers their “power of choice” well into the future, according to president of the engine business, Srikanth Padmanabhan.

Padmanabhan was speaking to truck press today at the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show, where he said Cummins will be able to provide internal combustion engines, as well as full-electric and hybrid powertrains, and eventually even fuel cell electric powertrains.

During the unveiling of AEOS, the first fully electric, zero emission truck, at the Cummins Technology Center on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 in Columbus, Ind. (AJ Mast/AP Images for Cummins)

“We have shown time and again, when the industry changes, or when technology changes, that is when we deliver and when we deliver for our customers in a big way,” Padmanabhan said. “We will be there to provide that power of choice for our customers, regardless of what the powertrain is going to be.”

He cited Cummins’ history of “technological leadership,” including its introduction of the diesel engine when trucks were predominantly powered by big gasoline engines. Cummins has been in the engine business for 100 years and will this year produce 1.3 million engines. It has a running population of 15 million engines.

The next 15 years, said Padmanabhan, will see further disruption, in the form of connectivity, automation, and energy diversity. He said Cummins will play a role in these areas. In terms of connectivity, Padmanabhan said Cummins is finally putting the data collected by its electronic control modules to use, and providing meaningful data to fleets.

“We have the ability to collect massive data and the ability to make better decisions because of analytics behind it. I think it’s going to revolutionize the industry,” Padmanabhan said of connectivity.

When it comes to automation, Padmanabhan said Cummins has a role to play by developing a compatible powertrain and enabling automation through its ADEPT software. And as for energy diversity, Padmanabhan vowed Cummins will be ready to meet customer needs with whatever technology is the most viable for them.

Padmanabhan also noted Cummins is working on a new heavy-duty engine platform, which will be rolled out in 2022.

“They’ll be lighter, and the performance will be better,” he said. He also predicted more components will be electrically powered in the future. And there may even be hybrid trucks that can operate electrically in areas with bad air pollution, and by traditional fossil fuels some of the time.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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