The well-established Cummins company chose an appropriate time to reveal its all-electric semi tractor concept: just before Tesla prepares to reveal its own electric semi next month.
The traditional diesel-engine maker debuted its Urban Hauler Tractor, a Class 7 semi truck with a 44,000-pound payload.
Notably, the company called the semi truck a concept that previews a production truck Cummins believes could arrive at the end of this decade.
If not the truck itself, Cummins is confident the powertrain will be ready for production by that time; the company promises 100 miles of range.
That figure is well below what Tesla's electric-semi truck is rumored to offer: Tesla's electric semi will reportedly have a 200- to 300-mile range.
But nothing about Tesla's electric semi truck has been made official just yet.
Cummins said the Urban Hauler Tractor weighs 18,000 pounds, and its 140-kilowatt-hour battery pack weighs roughly the same as a traditional 12-liter diesel engine.
Although it is only capable of 100 miles of range, Cummins said a long-range version of the Urban Hauler Tractor is also under development, though it didn't provide any potential range figures.
Additionally, the company said a diesel engine could be fitted onboard to act as a range extender for the electric powertrain.
Cummins was keen to keep the electric-semi truck as aerodynamic as possible, which led to deletion of the radiator grille, cameras for side mirrors, and a completely sealed underbody.
The diesel-engine maker is also experimenting with regenerative braking and solar panels as possible ways to extend the electric semi's range.
The conceptual truck will largely be used as an educational project for Cummins, which says advances in electric vehicles are occurring rapidly.
Cummins Urban Hauler Tractor concept
By the time the Urban Hauler Tractor is ready for production, the company said, it believes its battery pack could be charged in just 20 minutes; today's fast-charging stations would take an hour.
In the meantime, Cummins offers what it calls near-zero-emission natural-gas engines for Class 8 semi trucks, and the company also highlighted its X15 and X12 diesel engines.
Those two engines use a compact Single Module Aftertreatment, which offers longer maintenance intervals to reduce service costs for owners who put hundreds of thousands of miles a year on their tractors.
Its next heavy-duty diesel engine is expected to arrive in 2022 with further power and efficiency improvements, which the company said will be "revolutionary."