Path to Zero
Path to Zero
3.06 - New Decarbonizing Truck Engine Technology with Fleet Operations Expert Kevin Hahn
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In this episode of Path to Zero, Tucker gets the perspective of a veteran fleet manager on the potential of recently unveiled truck engine technology designed to help fleet owners decarbonize today.

Kevin Hahn spent more than 38-years overseeing large fleets, including a 30-year run at UPS and most recently at Stericycle as the Vice President of Global Fleet where he oversaw more than 8,000 power/engine units in 17 countries.

Silver Buckshot

Tucker kicks off the episode by talking about how there’s no perfect energy. “My view is that we can and should take immediate steps to decarbonize; not waiting for some magical day when a silver bullet energy is discovered to make everything better,” Tucker says. “I’m what you might call a silver buckshot person. I believe we need as many clean alternative energy options to be put into play today as quickly as possible, and especially in key areas like transportation.”

He talks to Kevin Hahn to get his view on the biggest energy transition in the world history. It’s no secret truck fleets will play an important role in decarbonization. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), medium- and heavy-duty vehicles account for less than 5% of the vehicles on the road but produce over 20% of the emissions from the transportation sector, which currently accounts for more than one-third of U.S. green-house gas emissions. A recent DOE study says that improvements with zero emission vehicle and fuel technologies will make zero-emissions medium- and heavy-duty vehicles cost competitive with traditional diesel-powered combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

Kevin Hahn spent 30 years at UPS. The company has plans for one in four new vehicles purchased annually to be an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle.

 

Hahn says cost is traditionally by far the biggest factor when fleet operators decide to purchase vehicles and diesel fuel has been the most affordable. However, Hahn says many companies that operate fleets are starting to open their eyes more to alternative fuels, particularly with the recent surge in diesel prices.

“Our customers are asking us what are we doing to decarbonize?” says Hahn. “No one wants to be tagged with running a dirty fleet or having a dirty business.”

New Cummins Engine Technology

Medium-duty fleet owners looking to invest in an alternative energy source that provides clean, affordable, and reliable benefits have new technology to turn to with the Cummins B6.7 Propane. The 6.7-liter displacement engine will be built on Cummins recently announced fuel-agnostic B-series platform and powered with propane autogas. The new engine provides diesel-like performance while offering fleets a path to decarbonization.

The new Cummins fuel-agnostic engine platform is an industry first and will feature a series of engine versions that are derived from a common base engine. Below the head gasket of each engine will have similar components and above the head gasket will have different components for different fuel types.

Cummins is taking the approach that there is no single solution to get to net zero. Utilizing all alternative fuel types-natural gas, battery electric, propane, hydrogen-is the quickest way for the world to get to Destination Zero.

“This new engine is a wonderful opportunity to have better carbon reduction,” says Hahn. “When you’re running a big fleet, you want diversity. You don’t want just one of anything because what happens if you have a problem with one of the fuels? You can’t serve your customer.”

“The new Cummins engine platform is great because there’s no silver bullet, not one button that you can push that’s going to get us to where we need to be with carbon reduction,” says Hahn. “We’re going to need all the tools available and it’s going to take a lot of work from a lot of people slowly renewing their fleets and picking better, more energy-efficient and emissions-efficient vehicles so that we can help decarbonize the world.”

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