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Cummins vice-chairman tells senators government mandates on technology don’t help innovation

Cummins Vice Chairman Tony Satterthwaite testifies before a US Senate committee on energy innovation.

COLUMBUS, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The vice chairman of Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) told the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that forced government mandates on technology will not help the country progress towards zero-emissions in the transportation sector.

Tony Satterthwaite was joined Tuesday by others in the powertrain sector to explain what the industry needs to drive innovation in transportation.

“In our experience, performance-driven standards allow us to reduce emissions today, and continue to innovate and improve as infrastructure challenges are addressed,” said Satterthwaite. “And we do not believe a technology mandate will be helpful.”

Satterthwaite says when technology is pushed into the market before it is ready, it can have a negative effect. He says costs are typically higher and reliability lower which frustrates customers. Satterthwaite says if the technology is not dependable, manufacturers must spend more money on warranty and support.

“As customers don’t have great confidence in the technology, then they keep their older vehicles longer, which I think does not meet the goal of greening our economy as quickly as possible.”

Satterthwaite shared with the senators Cummins’ vision for innovating across its products to sustain a vibrant economy while reducing emissions and improving air quality.

“Our path to zero emissions will get us the biggest reduction in emissions in the fastest way. With the lowest cost. Innovation is key to the path and the path is almost as important as the destination,” said Satterthwaite.

He says the company is working to improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines, but it is also investing heavily in hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric vehicles.

“The future of power requires multi-faceted innovation. Our customers need the right vehicles and equipment to do their work today and in the future. The integrated power solutions must be reliable, efficient, flexible and sustainable to meet the evolving demands for powering our communities and the infrastructure and equipment that shape our world,” said Satterthwaite

He says to reach new emission standards and to increase the adoption of zero-carbon emitting equipment in transportation will require investment and collaboration among public and private entities.

“If the U.S. is to achieve this path to zero in a way that is cost-effective, timely and promotes U.S. jobs and manufacturing, significant public support is needed from DOE, our national labs and other research institutions to innovate in infrastructure, development, and deployment,” said Satterthwaite.

During the hearing, Satterthwaite explained Cummins’ path towards zero-emissions in its products.