Tesla just lost the race to unveil a fully electric semi truck

The Cummins AEOS Concept Class 7 Urban Hauler EV vehicle was unveiled Aug. 30 in Columbus Ohio

The Cummins AEOS Concept Class 7 Urban Hauler EV vehicle was unveiled Aug. 30 in Columbus Ohio

Cummins is also developing a long-range version with a range of 480km by installing a diesel engine. In concept form the truck can drive 100 miles on a single charge.

The point where owners of gas-guzzlers can make fun of electric cars is rapidly disappearing in the rear-view mirror - Cummins has announced a big, meaty haulage truck that runs entirely on electric power.

In a move that pre-empts September's hotly anticipated Tesla Semi unveiling, Cummins also took the covers off a fully electric Class 7 (11.8-14.9 tonne gross vehicle weight rating) demonstration prime mover, dubbed the Urban Hauler Tractor. Nicknamed "Aeos", it represents the company's first zero-emissions truck and has been engineered to accommodate a large 140-kWh battery pack with enough juice for 100 miles between two charges, thus making it suitable mostly for city use. The new concept is a class 7 semi, weights 18,000 pounds and is created to move goods locally over short hauls.

Being engine experts as opposed to whole vehicle developers, Cummins has wisely tapped the auto industry engineering and development gurus at Roush Industries to help develop the truck, which helps explain how production is planned for as early as 2019.

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The battery can be recharged in an hour at a 140kWh charging point, but Cummins intends to reduce this to 20 minutes by 2020. Cummins does not plan to assemble the trucks, but instead views itself as a supplier of the battery and driveline system.

Experts point out that the AEOS ekes out as much range as it can thanks to low-rolling resistance tires and regenerative braking. These engine options offer 50 percent fuel savings compared to today's diesel hybrids with zero emissions.

That's one of the reasons why Tesla is already committed to entering the commercial vehicle space.

Development of a high-efficiency spark-ignited technology that can deliver diesel-like performance and durability across a range of liquid fuels, like ethanol, methanol, and gasoline, while meeting the most stringent emissions requirements.