Ninety-eight-year-old diesel engine maker Cummins Inc.'s (CMI) - Get Report shares rose about 1.5% on Thursday after the company said it's enhanced its efforts to develop and market electric and other alternative powertrains by itself and in partnership with others.

It said it would begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019, including battery electric and plug-in hybrids. 

On its Website, Cummins added that "Longer term, the Company's Research and Technology Department continues to investigate the viability of alternatives like biofuels, synthetic fuels, and hydrogen. Cummins has also invested in exploratory projects focused on Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologies - both with increasing potential to offer superior power density over the traditional internal combustion engine."

Analysts at Stifel called the news, "a big deal,"  and said it creates another seasoned competitor to Tesla Inc. (TSLA) - Get Report .

The firm said the news shows that Cummins is further along the electrification track than people realized.

"Cummins will not be caught flat-footed if the market moves away from its core diesel engine business," they concluded.

Cummins' shares added 1.4% to $161.72 at Thursday's close. The stock is up 18% for the year-to-date, and 43% over the last 12 months.

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