Electric cities: Shifting into the future of electrified transportation

Cummins - Big Blue Bus - Electric transportation
In August 2017, the city of Santa Monica experienced the clean power and potential of the first-ever GILLIG battery electric bus, powered by Cummins.

When it comes to adopting electrified power solutions for transportation, these four cities are leading the way. 

Cities all throughout the world are embracing an electrified future — leading to cleaner air, quieter communities, and more efficient transportation everywhere. 

While electrification is a growing trend just about everywhere, there are a handful of standout cities across the world that have been adopting electrification in breakthrough ways, on a major scale. Let’s celebrate these electric cities for their innovative spirit — and for showing us all what the future of electrified transportation may look like.

Oslo, Norway

Norway has the highest rate of electric car ownership in the world. As of March 2019, electric vehicles (EVs) or hybrids accounted for half of all vehicle sales in Norway, and 57% of all vehicles in the city of Oslo. Norway has a variety of incentives including lower taxes and fees for those driving EVs or hybrids. These regulations make going electric financially feasible for many Oslo residents.

By 2023, Oslo plans to have a city-wide zero-emission taxi system up and running, and they’re already making it simple to charge taxis in the city. To do this, Oslo is installing the world’s first wireless charging system through induction plates. This way, taxis can charge while waiting in a slow-moving line to pick up passengers — making for a much more efficient taxi system, with a greater daily range.  

Shenzhen, China

Every single city bus in Shenzhen is fully electric. That’s 16,000 buses. More than 400,000 electric buses are currently in operation throughout China, and the country is planning to add at least 200,000 more by 2025. 

In China, the government supports electrification enthusiastically through policy and funding. Public transport companies using electric vehicles receive significant subsidies, which makes electrification more accessible for cities of all sizes. With continued government support of electrification, it’s very possible that many other Chinese cities will soon follow Shenzhen’s lead and convert to 100% transit electrification.

San Francisco, United States of America 

Most of the United States has been slower to adopt electrification than the rest of the world. But the state of California is one of America’s leading electric states, and has recently mandated that from 2029 forward, mass transit agencies will only be able to buy electric buses.

While 2029 may seem far away, it’s important to give transit agencies the time they need to adopt fully-electric fleets with the right planning in place. The ten-year mandate will allow these agencies to find and order reliable electric buses and implement necessary infrastructure to ensure they run smoothly in their unique city environments. 

The city of San Francisco is one of the top electrified cities in America. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, San Francisco has more electric vehicles than anywhere else in the country and more electric vehicle promotion efforts, like policies and subsidies, than any other U.S. city.

Santiago, Chile

To install a city-wide electric bus fleet, there’s a lot more to do than just order a fleet of buses. Charging infrastructure is a key part of the electrification equation. In Santiago, Chile, planners tested charging technology and adjusted the electrical grid long before any buses came to town to create the best possible transport strategy for the city. 

The ultimate plan for Santiago’s transport sector is to have a low-emission system with 6,000 electric buses up and running by 2040.

In Chile, you might say that electric vehicle infrastructure is growing from the ground up. Chile is the world’s largest producer of copper and the world’s second-largest producer of lithium, which are both essential materials used in electric vehicle batteries. 

With an abundance of important battery materials, public policy encouraging EV adoption, and a robust public transit plan for 2040, the city of Santiago and the nation of Chile are helping lead the global electrification movement. 

For many urban transportation systems worldwide, the future is electric. Cities across the world are leading the way in electrified transportation, powering a greener, more efficient tomorrow.

Cummins - Electric Cities - Infographic
Click the image to view a hi-res version of our Electric Cities infographic.


 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

The Future of Fleets: The four keys to electrification – Part 4

Future of Fleets Zero Emissions

When it comes to battery electric vehicles, there are four keys to adoption within the commercial vehicle sector. In Part 4 of our four-part blog series, we look at the final hurdle a new technology must overcome: Policies and regulation. 

In this fourth preview blog, we look at how policy and regulations regarding commercial EVs must be carefully developed in collaboration with industries and institutions. Sustainability, after all, is not an issue limited to any one sector, and only by drawing on the insight of experts in the technology, infrastructure, and economics of EVs, as well as end-users and other policymakers, will successful incentives to adoption be designed. 

If you are reading this series for the first time, you can find part one here, part two here and part three here. 

Regulatory surety

Finding the right focus will require ongoing conversation, consultation, and collaboration with stakeholders from across the mobility space. The range of routes here is broad: long-term zero-pollution targets will set the overall direction of travel for industry; cross-industry working groups will establish proven technological standards; policies which fund, and remove barriers to, infrastructure rollout will create progress on usability; sustainability stipulations in contracts put out to tender will demonstrate economic viability and create a market for sustainable vehicles; collaborative work on data sharing will improve monitoring and efficiency; and linking tax rates with emissions will improve return-on-investment. 

While the range of options is daunting, there are already examples of best practice emerging across the world. A recent report from the environmental research group Bellona, for example, details the nature of some policy initiatives which are already seeing positive outcomes in construction, which currently accounts for 23% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  

In the Norwegian capital of Oslo, for example, the city’s municipal developer has operated a series of initiatives involving setting minimum standards for bidders on contracts it puts out to tender. The developer adopted the policy that ‘what can be run on electric, shall be run on electric’ – creating the potential for a market for electrified construction equipment. Looking ahead, the city anticipates that by 2025 all public construction sites will operate emission-free machinery and transport. 

Part of the success of Oslo’s initiative, besides the determination of stakeholders to make it work, may be in the phrasing of its policy. By using the phrasing ‘what can be run on electric’, the city avoids forcing construction firms into inappropriate adoption (such as electrifying what is not yet suitable to be electrified) and opens a dialogue with them about what can and cannot be electrified, working cooperatively on progress towards sustainability. 

Bringing it all together 

All over the world, progress is being made through hard work to bring the technological capabilities of EVs up to the level where they meet the requirements of commercial applications. 

This requires us to understand their infrastructural requirements and make them clearly actionable, to bring their total cost of ownership down to a level where they compete with and exceed conventional vehicles, and to produce policy which incentivizes their adoption. 

For Cummins, the process of finding the right solution is always a collaborative effort. Getting it right means having conversations across stakeholders in industry and policy, as well as end-users, to deeply understand the issues and ensure successful roll-out. 

To learn more, please visit our ‘Future of Fleets’ whitepaper, which looks at the four keys to electrification, with insights from a range of industry experts including Addison Lee, dg:cities and Nuvve. 
 

Download the 'Future of Fleets' report (PDF)

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

The Future of Fleets: The four keys to electrification – Part 3

Electrified Power - Future of Fleets - Economic Reality BP 3

When it comes to battery electric vehicles, there are four keys to adoption within the commercial vehicle sector. In Part 3 of our four-part blog series, we look at the third hurdle a new technology must overcome: Economic feasibility. 

 

At present, EVs are often more expensive than their conventionally-powered equivalents. One reason for this is inherent material costs, with battery manufacture requiring large quantities of lithium. Yet, as processes are refined, efficiencies are found, and scale increases, the manufacturing costs of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are expected to reduce – and the reduction of this cost will be a major enabler for early commercial electric vehicles (EVs) adoption.

In this third part of the ‘Future of Fleets’ whitepaper preview series, we look at the economic considerations for electrification. If you are reading this series for the first time, you can find part one here and part two here.

Economic reality 

Today, the economic decision-making involved in purchasing commercial vehicles is familiar to anyone involved in fleet management. It can be broadly divided into capital expenditure (the up-front cost of the vehicle and infrastructure), operating expenses, and the day to day costs of running the vehicle such as fuel and maintenance requirements. 

EV adoption can involve significant outlay, which varies widely depending on application. While the growing availability of on-street charging points can be leveraged for some commercial vehicle fleets, such as last-mile delivery vans, for other applications, such as buses, owned infrastructure is necessary. New electric fleets may, in fact, demand entirely new configurations of buildings. Charging points can however be shared, meaning that the upfront cost can be reduced. In this way, large electrification projects can deliver a better return on investment than smaller projects.  

From an operational perspective, the two main cost areas are energy and maintenance. Energy costs for EVs are dependent on electricity prices, much as fuel costs today are ultimately dependent on oil prices. Maintenance costs may be minimized through the use of telematics to monitor wear and tear and accurately predict when servicing is required. 

While major capital expenditure is clearly involved, through a combination of falling prices over time and efficiency savings from vehicles sharing charging points, EVs can be – and in the case of delivery trucks already are – economically competitive with diesel options.

How does policy and regulation impact electrification of commercial vehicles? Find out in next week’s ‘Future of Fleets’ blog series.

Download the 'Future of Fleets' report (PDF)

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

The Future of Fleets: The four keys to electrification - Part 2

Electrified Power - Future of Fleets - Infrastructure

When it comes to battery electric vehicles, there are four keys to adoption within the commercial vehicle sector. In Part 2 of our four-part blog series, we look at the second hurdle a new technology must overcome: Infrastructure.

 

Much of the infrastructure required to practically use an electrified vehicle (EV) is already in place: roads, traffic lights, car parks and systems of vehicle registration are all agnostic as to how the vehicles they accommodate are powered. 

The way energy is delivered to vehicles, however, must change in tandem with the move to EVs, replacing the well-developed network of oil-based fuel delivery we currently rely on with charging points and a power grid that can support them. In this second preview blog of the ‘Future of Fleets’ whitepaper, we look at how work on infrastructure will enable electric commercial vehicle adoption. If you are reading this series for the first time, you can find part one here.  

Infrastructural capacity  

For a typical electric passenger car, fully recharging from a standard U.K. power outlet will take over 10 hours. For commercial vehicles, this level of downtime introduces significant costs – exacerbated by the fact that commercial vehicles are often larger and heavier, and therefore require larger batteries which take longer to recharge. 

For situations where a certain number of vehicle-hours is mandated by the operation, this downtime factor has a range of consequences for infrastructure design. If the vehicles are being charged at a centralized hub, for example, each vehicle needs a parking space for the period of charging. Here, halving the charging time of a vehicle means halving the physical space needed by the recharging infrastructure, as well as halving the number of charge points which need to be purchased and installed. 

The energy for EV recharging, of course, also comes from somewhere. EVs will get their energy either from on-site power generation, such as solar and wind power, or from the national grid. For energy companies, this represents a challenge as, especially at peak charging times, the overall demand on power stations as more vehicles become battery-powered increases. One solution to this will be to use smart charging solutions, which supply energy overnight, when the electricity demand from households and industry is lower. 

Widespread adoption of EVs offers a surprising benefit: the large capacity of vehicle batteries creates the possibility for vehicles not currently in use to help balance national power supply with demand, which will become increasingly important as less predictable renewable energy sources become a more dominant part of our energy mix. Making this win-win possible requires further collaboration between commercial vehicle operators, utilities, legislators and technology vendors. 

Stay tuned for the next blog in our series, in which we will discuss how the economics of fleet ownership affect electrification. 

Download the 'Future of Fleets' report (PDF)

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

The Future of Fleets: The four keys to electrification - Part 1

Electrified Power - Future of Fleets - Technological Maturity

When it comes to battery electric vehicles, there are four keys to adoption within the commercial vehicle sector. In Part 1 of our four-part blog series, we look at the first hurdle a new technology must overcome: Technological maturity.

 

The world’s power needs are changing. By the end of the 21st Century, we will not have the same reliance on fossil fuels. A growing number of fleets are looking to diversify how they power mobility and heavy industry.

Battery electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming viable across a broad range of applications, and the potential to transform commercial fleets is clear. What’s less understood is how we can plot a course for adoption of these technologies, bringing them into greater use in the commercial automotive sector, while maintaining productivity and prosperity.

In Cummins’ ‘Future of Fleets’ whitepaper preview series, we’ll look at the same four keys which made the internal combustion engine one of history’s most successful inventions – technological maturity, infrastructural capacity, economic reality, and regulatory surety – and outline how they must be considered as fleets diversify in the commercial vehicle sector.

Technological maturity 

The first hurdle that a technology must overcome if it’s going to be adopted for any given purpose is its ability to perform the task at hand. For the internal combustion engine, first developed in 1859, this meant providing at least as much energy output as a horse in an equivalent or smaller amount of space. Today, the physical ability of EVs to perform the task at hand needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

One technology has been the critical innovation which above all else has made modern EVs possible: the lithium-ion battery (Li-ion). Using batteries to provide power to a vehicle involves a key trade-off: movement over a large distance requires a lot of energy, but adding additional batteries also adds weight and volume, increasing the vehicle’s energy requirements even further. One of the key scientific challenges in creating batteries for vehicles, therefore, is maximizing the amount of energy they can hold in a given volume and weight; this is precisely what Li-ion batteries achieve.

As this progress continues, it will become possible to electrify more varied types of vehicles. Long-haul freight, for instance, demands a huge amount of stored energy, but adding additional battery units eats into the available storage space, making each journey less economically useful. By researching how we can store more power in a smaller space, we will enable new possibilities for electrification.

Technology is just one part of the electrification story, so stay tuned for more in part two of this blog series and download the full "Future of Fleets" whitepaper report below.
 

Download the 'Future of Fleets' report (PDF)

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Redirecting to
cummins.com

The information you are looking for is on
cummins.com

We are launching that site for you now.

Thank you.