U.S.-based Cummins has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tata Motors, the largest maker of commercial vehicles in India, the companies said in a statement on Monday. The collaboration is to work on the design and development of low and zero-emission propulsion technology for commercial vehicles in India—including hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines, fuel cells, and battery electric vehicle systems.

India will be one of the first markets to receive Cummins’ Hydrogen engines, an important technology to drive decarbonisation. The MoU was signed in the presence of N Chandrasekaran, executive chairman, Tata Sons and chairman, Tata Motors, and Tom Linebarger, executive chairman, Cummins, at Bombay House, Mumbai—the Tata Sons headquarters. “The shift to sustainable mobility is irreversible and Tata Motors is committed to being amongst the leaders of green mobility. We are taking definitive steps to drive this global megatrend forward in each of our businesses,” says Chandrasekaran on the occasion.

 “We strongly believe that this collaboration is a significant step forward to achieving India’s Green Hydrogen Mission,” says Linebarger.

This is not the first time the two companies have entered a collaboration. In 1993, the two engineering companies came together to introduce cleaner vehicle technology solutions to the Indian market—Tata Motors to deliver mobility solutions in India, and Cummins to help deliver those solutions through their products and services. “Cummins and Tata Motors have a strong history of partnership, and the next step into low and zero-emissions technologies is an exciting development for zero-emissions transportation,” Linebarger adds. 

Cummins envisages reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. It claims to be pursuing a dual path—the company is reducing emissions from internal combustion engines while simultaneously investing in new, zero-emissions products. It spends approximately $1 billion annually on research and development of future technologies.

It currently makes Cummins B6.7H hydrogen engine—with up to 290 hp (216 kW) output and 1200 Nm peak torque. The B6.7H hydrogen engine is derived from Cummins fuel-agnostic platform offering a common-base architecture and low-to-zero carbon fuel capability. Cummins’ zero-emission product portfolio also includes its fourth-generation hydrogen fuel cell engine. It is designed to meet the duty-cycle, performance and packaging requirements of medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses, the fuel cell technology is available in 135 kW single- and 270-kW dual modules. Cummins battery portfolio includes both Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) and Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) battery packs.

Nitin Gadkari, the union minister of road transport and highways, says that the country is all set to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles. According to Gadkari, India has the most electrolysers in the world, and currently, hydrogen can either be produced from coal (black hydrogen), from petrol (brown hydrogen), and from water (green hydrogen).

To meet its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2070 and reduce its energy import bill, India is tapping as many green and locally available energy sources as possible. Seeing the government earmarking ₹800 crore for pilot projects, infrastructure, research and development, regulations and public outreach, the sector has seen forays by some of the biggest names in corporate India, including the likes of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Adani Group, JSW Group, among others. 

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