Cummins says it has been awarded a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

The truck must reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% compared to conventional Class 6 vehicles. Cummins is partnering with Paccar on the project as well as representatives from Ohio State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory, a Cummins statement said.

Cummins researchers will choose the best engine for use as a range extender integrated with the electrified powertrain.

Cummins intends to achieve fuel savings that will meet or exceed expectations in a wide range of drive cycles in order to meet a variety of fleet needs. In addition to the electrification of the powertrain, Cummins will also optimize the internal combustion engine and use other technologies such as intelligent transportation systems and electronic braking.

"The close integration and control of the electrified powertrain with an appropriately selected engine is critically important to developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system," said Wayne Eckerle, vice president of research and technology at Cummins.

"We believe that through the team’s efforts we can soon make these innovations commercially available, which has the potential to translate into substantial savings annually per vehicle, helping our customers and the environment."

Originally posted on Trucking Info