Engine manufacturer Cummins, which has supplied the muscle for a wide range of tractors and agricultural machines over the years, has announced a new focus on emerging technologies – including electrification.

In a statement, the firm detailed its continued concentration on core elements of its various divisions, such as engines, components and power systems – aiming for more efficient and more economical products.

In an interesting move, the company has upped its game with regard to electrification; Cummins is considering partnering with other firms to develop “advanced technology” in areas such as power electronics, energy storage and traction motor systems.

Most notably, Cummins will begin delivery of an electrified powertrain in 2019, including battery electric and plug-in hybrids in what it says are just the “first steps” in this sector.

“As a global power leader for the commercial and industrial markets we serve, we are better positioned than any other company to win in new and emerging technologies,” said Tom Linebarger, Cummins Chairman and CEO.

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“Over the past 100 years, our ability to innovate and adapt has fuelled our success and we are confident we are on the right path to do it again at this critical juncture.

We are prepared to provide a range of power technologies to our customers, from diesel and natural gas to fully electric and hybrid powertrains – to ensure they always have the best solution.

Another key area of development for the US engine company is that of alternative fuels, with Cummins highlighting its zero-emission natural gas engine system as a strong alternative to conventional offerings. It is also developing what it describes as a “highly efficient” petrol (gasoline) system with “diesel-like” durability and performance.

The firm’s research and development department is currently testing other alternative fuel types, such as hydrogen, bio-fuels and synthetics. “Exploratory projects” are also underway on Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologies, the company claims.

With such projects underway, could more “environmentally-friendly” tractors become common-place sooner than expected? Only time will tell.