Exclusive Interview with Cummins GM of Global Bus Business
www.chinatrucks.com: 2017 Beijing International Exhibition on Buses, Trucks and Components officially kicked off at Beijing Exhibition Center on May 24 and will last for three days. Enterprises from both upstream and downstream of bus manufacturing industry will showcase their latest products and technologies at the exhibition. Experts believe that the event will provide an ideal platform for all participants to promote their market presence and exchange views on the industry’s future development.
Cummins GM of Global Bus Business, Brain R. Wilson (Left 2) was Interviewed by Chinabuses
Cummins, the world’s leading engine maker, has already signed up for the event. www.chinabuses.org is honoured to have a talk with its GM of Global Bus Business Mr. Brain R. Wilson.
Q: At this year’s exhibition, what new products and technologies did Cummins bring to its customers?
Brain: Here on the booth we are introducing our latest F Series engine – the new ISF4.5 – which joins the ISF3.8 and ISF2.8 engines all built at the BFCEC plant here in Beijing and sharing a similar platform architecture.
The ISF4.5 is a high output, highly compact 4-cylinder engine ideally suited to midi-bus and midi-coach applications here in China and for bus exports. It will meet both Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions.
With the ISF4.5 now built here in China, this means that we no longer need to bring the B Series 4.5 engine in from Cummins UK – so that almost 90% of the buses built in China with Cummins engines are built with engines from Chinese plants with our joint venture partners.
Q: Could you please share with us how Cummins engines are received in the global bus market? How about their performance in the global market?
Brain: Cummins continues to remain the world’s number supplier of engines to the bus industry, powering over 400 unique bus and coach models, adding up to over 75,000 vehicles per year and representing over 20% of the market for medium and large passenger service vehicles.
We have held this position for some years and looking ahead we anticipate our market share will gradually continue to increase as we expand our product capability even further – at the higher vehicle size with the ISG12 heavy duty engine…… and at the lower vehicle size with the lighter duty ISF3.8 and ISF2.8.
We would not retain this impressive share unless our engines performed better than the competition – and that we supported our customers better than the competition.
This means a level of scale and commitment to product development and service support unmatched in the engine industry. And, the more unique buses and duty cycles Cummins powers, the more knowledge and improvement we can make in our future products…..which in turn earns Cummins the right to win even more business in the future.
Q: What measures has Cummins taken in recent years to promote green public transport?
Brain: Our latest generation of bus engines – meeting Euro 6 phase D emissions in the EU and EPA 2017 Greenhouse Gas regulations in North America– represent the pinnacle of clean diesel development. They are able to achieve exceptionally low emissions without the major capital or infrastructure investment associated with battery electric buses.
Additionally, Cummins has worked to achieve engine compatibility for use with renewable diesel, also known as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), representing another major step forward to reduce the carbon footprint of Cummins-powered bus fleets. HVO diesel can be used as a 100 percent substitute for ULSD or can be used blended. Our certification work is not yet fully complete, but will soon cover all our bus engine range.
While Cummins is most strongly associated with diesel engines, perhaps less well known is that we also one of the leading suppliers of natural gas engines. In fact, we are by far the number one supplier in North America and an important supplier here in China.
An example of this is the Cummins Ultra-Low NOX ISL G engine powered by Natural Gas. This engine is designed to meet the most stringent NOX regulation around the globe and is able to meet the 0.02 grams/bhp per hour limit set by California as equivalent to that of a full electric vehicle. When fueled by renewable natural gas – sometimes called biomethane – it achieves near carbon neutral capability.
This adds up to an ultra-low emissions solution with a far lower overall investment than electric.
Q: New energy buses have been growing robustly in recent years, posing a big threat to traditional fossil-fueled buses. How did Cummins react to this?
Brain: New energy buses are clearly now an established part of the bus industry in China - and manufacturers are to be commended for the way they have responded to the challenge of improving air quality by introducing electrification. This trend is also starting to grow in Europe and North America, but the volumes of full Battery Electric Vehicles remains very low compared to China.
We see electrification not so much a threat – but more as complementary to diesel engines. Cummins vision is one of ‘energy diversity’ – where we will be able to offer our customers not just diesel and natural gas - but also range extender electric as well as full electric solutions. This is all about being able to provide the right technology for the right mission - to reflect differences in route range, geographies, applications and achieving the right balance between investment and emissions reduction for our customers. You can expect to hear more about this development program later this year.
Of course, electrification is not something new to Cummins, as we have been partnering with hybrid systems since as far back as 1995. Today, Cummins probably supplies more diesel engines worldwide for hybrid bus systems than any other manufacturer. We have invested in, and learned a lot from, the past 20+ years of hybridization and will apply all that knowledge to developing full battery electric and range extender electric vehicle systems with higher energy efficient that those available today.
Cummins Engine on Show
However, the diesel engine will remain at the heart of the bus and coach industry – and is the prime mover that the operator depends upon for reliability and performance. Essentially, that position has not changed since the advent of more sophisticated transmissions, advanced bus designs or the advent of electric propulsion. Indeed, as the engine continues to be key lever to achieve lower emissions and higher fuel economy, it could be said that the diesel engine – and the engine manufacturer - is more important than ever.
Q: Cummins has already set up sound after-sales networks in the global market. What do you do exactly to better serve your global customers and improve your customer satisfaction?
Brain: Thanks to our global scale and participation in a multitude of markets, Cummins can….and does…. support our bus customers in over 190 countries around the globe. This is an unparalleled level of support that can NOT be offered by any of our competitors.
Indeed, we invest as much in providing a global support network as we do in product development. That’s why our distributors are nearly all 100% Cummins owned - to ensure they provide the same level of expertise and commitment wherever Cummins-powered buses can be found operating – be it in the UK or Australia or Peru or South Africa. And it’s this capability that plays an important role in enabling Chinese vehicles with our engines to be exported – and supported - worldwide.
Our commitment is to sell our customer a product they can depend on….but if something does go wrong….. Cummins will work as quickly as possible to repair the failure and ensure the customer experiences the least amount of disruption to their operations.
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