Cummins acquiring electric, hybrid powertrain provider

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Updated Jul 3, 2018
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As the trucking landscape continues its shift toward powertrain electrification, legacy diesel engine companies are left to either adapt or risk obsolescence. Cummins continued its quest of becoming a player in the emerging transportation technology Monday, announcing the acquisition of Silicon Valley-based Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a designer and producer hybrid and fully-electric power solutions for commercial segments.

Monday’s news marked Cummins’ third acquisition in the electrification segment in less than a year. Last November the company acquired Brammo, an Ashland, Ore.-based producer of electric traction motors and traction batteries. Two months later, the Columbus, Ind.-based diesel engine giant snapped up Johnson Matthey Battery Systems, Europe’s largest independent designer and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery systems.

With the addition of its fully-electric and unique four-mode hybrid powertrains, Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger says EDI broadens Cummins’ electrification expertise and products.

“This acquisition will combine EDI’s talented workforce and electrification capabilities with Cummins’ expertise in developing and manufacturing the technologies that power the world,” he adds.

Cummins was among the first traditional trucking OEMs to enter the electrification ring, unveiling a hybrid electric concept Class 7 truck nearly a year ago.

EDI’s hybrid system is capable of switching in real time between fully electric, series and parallel modes. The company’s Class 8 truck system – the PowerDrive 8000 – features an all-electric range of more than 100 miles. A comparable range-extended plug-in hybrid system features 35-plus miles of all-electric driving and more than 300 miles with series-parallel driving before refueling.

“As the industry continues to evolve and OEMs move to include hybrid and electric technologies in their vehicle offerings, the combination of Cummins and EDI represents a tremendous opportunity for growth and category leadership,” says EDI Chairman and CEO Joerg Ferchau.

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EDI’s portfolio of hybrid-electric drivetrain systems, the EDI PowerDrive series, have logged more than 6 million miles in a fleet setting in the U.S. and China. The company’s EDI PowerDrive 6000 system has traveled more than 3.1 million miles traveled since 2015, mostly in transit buses.  The EDI PowerDrive 7000 electric drivetrain and EDI PowerSuite vehicle control software were integrated into Daimler Trucks North America subsidiary Thomas Built’s Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric Concept Bus.

The closing of the EDI acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected].