Cummins releases electric semi
If you already drive an electric car, odds are fluctuations in gasoline prices are no longer a worry. However, there are other advantages too, namely the instantly available torque of an EV. And where is torque more useful than with a tractor trailer.
Cummins, the diesel specialist, already knows all about torque. In the pickup truck world, having a Cummins under your hood is something to brag about. Now they’re launching a cleaner type of heavy-duty twist.
Ahead of Tesla’s expected launch of a semi-trailer electric prototype, Cummins is showing off their Aeos truck, a class seven hauler built for urban use. With a base 140-kilowatt-hour battery pack, it has 160 kilometres of range, with the option of added battery packs and/or a range extender.
Even the basic range is enough to make the Aeos useful, especially at duties like moving shipping containers around. The problem is that it’s likely to be quite expensive, and will require worker training to make sure it’s plugged in as need be.
Electric heavy carriers make a great deal of sense for localized urban transport, and even Canada Post runs an electric parcel truck locally. Diesel for distance, electric for dealing with denser areas.
Aston Martin to go full hybrid
Volvo led the charge (pardon the pun) to range-wide electrification of their fleet, but that wasn’t really a surprise. The Scandinavians already have embraced electric vehicles in droves, so having every new Volvo be at least a hybrid just makes sense.
More shocking (look, that one was an accident) is Aston Martin’s recent announcement that they, too, will be going for an all-hybrid lineup, along with increasing EV production. Aston is known best for luxurious and powerful grand tourers rather than eco-friendly choices, so what gives? Making a powerful electric vehicle or hybrid isn’t cheap, but it comes with some advantages. Just look at Porsche’s Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid: a long and silly name, yes, but it’s warp-drive fast. Adding the low end power of an electric motor to the long legs and higher r.p.m. song of an Aston V-12 will just make a grand tourer that much more grand.
And, because any discussion involving Aston Martin must also briefly touch on 007, just think of how useful a silent running mode would be for sneaking up on agents of Spectre, or discreetly leaving a forbidden assignation.
Porsche mulls joining F1
With the end of its run in endurance racing, Porsche is walking away from the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its head held high. The team returned, learned fast, and added a few more trophies to its well-stocked cabinet. Now what?
First, Porsche is turning its eyes on Formula E. The series isn’t quite there in terms of audience excitement, but the ability to run street courses without pollution (noise or otherwise) is pretty amazing. Imagine if we could get Formula E running on the old Vancouver Molson Indy course.
Next, and perhaps more exciting if you’re a Porsche fan first, is the idea that Porsche might return to F1 as an engine supplier. With considerable
expertise in running turbocharged powerplants over decades of racing, a Porsche-derived twin-turbo V-6 would make perfect sense in an F1 car.
Really, I’d like to see both ideas implemented. F1 is still looking for its next big technological breakthrough, and enhanced electrification could be the way forward. Well, that and somebody other than Mercedes winning all the time. A cross-town, all-Stuttgart rivalry? Works for me.