Cummins' 15-Liter Natural Gas Engine in Customer Testing

Range of Truck With X15N Engine Is at Least 750 Miles, Company Says
Cummins X15N
Cummins' X15N engine. Cummins' Puneet Jhawar said the X15N is the least commercially disruptive solution for those in the trucking industry looking to grow in their sustainability goals while retaining a sense of product familiarity. (Cummins Inc.)

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Cummins began testing its X15N engine with U.S. customers more than a month ago, a major step forward for its largest natural gas-powered, heavy-duty trucking powertrain in North America.

Puneet Jhawar, general manager of Cummins' global spark-ignited and fuel-delivery system business, told Transport Topics the “big bore X15N brings a whole new meaning to ‘less is more.’ With commonality and necessary range for longhaul applications, the X15N provides a similar experience to that of diesel.”

X15N, he said, is the least commercially disruptive solution for those in the American trucking industry looking to grow in their sustainability goals while retaining a sense of product familiarity. The range of a truck with an X15N is at least 750 miles.

The engine, Jhawar said, provides a sustainability path for customers without sacrificing on performance and reliability. “We want to create that familiar experience as customers move from diesel to natural gas while presenting change opportunities such as lower operational costs,” he said.

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Foremost in Columbus, Ind.-based Cummins’ push for greater fuel sustainability, the X15N can use renewable natural gas (RNG): biomethane, or the cleaned-up gaseous product of the decomposition of organic matter. And the X15 platform is set to be available in a number of low-carbon formats, including hydrogen by 2027.

Puneet Jhawar


The engine will be capable of meeting stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board regulations next year and in 2027, Jhawar said.

Initial feedback on the X15N has been a “resounding thumbs-up,” he said, while noting that it is still early.

Among the companies testing the engine are Walmart Inc. and Werner Enterprises Inc. In April, Walmart said a move toward RNG is an important step toward lowering fleet emissions.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private-sector employer, ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America. Werner Enterprises ranks No. 17 on the for-hire TT100 and No. 34 on the logistics TT100.

Testing — with Cummins’ partners also including UPS, Knight-Swift Transportation and Ryder — will last for the rest of the year and into 2024, Jhawar said. UPS Inc. ranks No. 1 on the for-hire TT100 and No. 4 on the logistics TT100, Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings ranks No. 7 on the for-hire TT100, and Ryder Supply Chain Solutions is No. 9 on the for-hire TT100 and No. 10 on the logistics TT100.

X15N is not Cummins’ first natural gas engine -- that came in 1986 -- but it is the company’s first 15-liter product. The X15N will offer ratings up to 500 horsepower and 1,850 pound-feet of torque, enabling fleets to haul loads exceeding 80,000 pounds.


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Manufactured in Jamestown, N.Y., the engine can replace ISX12N or 13L chassis installations. It is expected to see up to a 10% fuel economy and greenhouse gas improvement compared with the ISX12N, according to Cummins.

The company wants to open its order books as soon as possible in North America, but it needs to hold discussions with truck manufacturer partners before that happens, Jhawar said.

Kenworth parent Paccar Inc. already have said they plan to offer the engine as an option as early as 2024, but Cummins is talking with all its original equipment manufacturer partners, said Jhawar, adding that it retrofitted a Freightliner truck for Walmart.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant, which aims to have a zero-emission transportation fleet by 2040, said April 18 it would incorporate five X15N tractor trailers into its fleet fueled by RNG.

RNG is seen by some as a bridge fuel to the electrification of trucking or a shift to hydrogen fuel cells, but Cummins is betting on what it sees as a negative carbon emission alternative to diesel with an established track record and fewer range or fueling concerns.

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Fueling infrastructure concerns that dog optimism surrounding hydrogen trucks and especially battery-electric trucks do not apply to RNG, said Jhawar. There are 800-900 public fueling stations available as well as a similar number of private options, he said, adding that more are coming.

Natural gas-powered trucks already have the fueling infrastructure they need in place, Jhawar said. Also, the fueling time is the same as a diesel truck at 15 minutes, he said, and offers a similar range.

Jhawar said Cummins also believes RNG supply concerns — unlike those for sustainable aviation fuel in that other hard-to-decarbonize transportation sector — are minimal. There is enough feedstock for RNG to fuel 10% to 15% of the needs of the U.S.’ heavy-duty commercial fleet, he said. Currently, landfills provide the majority of U.S. RNG.

To facilitate its low-carbon advances, in April the company announced plans to spend $1 billion on manufacturing plant upgrades.

“The X15N will be the first fuel-agnostic product of many launching over the coming years. This shows that we stand firmly behind providing customers with choices on their journey to decarbonization,” Jhawar told Transport Topics.