Cummins Details Revamped X15 Engine Lineup

X15N Natural Gas Variant Engine Joins HELM Fuel-Agnostic Platform
Cummins' X15N
The X15N is a natural gas variant offered for delivery later this year. (Cummins Inc.)

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Cummins Inc. executives recently detailed the plans for the company’s updated X15 engine platform, including how the so-called HELM fuel-agnostic architecture got its name.

“As we immerse ourselves in the energy transition, the HELM platforms give our customers control of how they navigate their own journeys. They can choose a fuel type that works best for them, their businesses and their goals,” Jane Beaman, vice president global, on-highway business, said during a Feb. 29 call for reporters. HELM stands for High Efficiency, Lower emissions, Multiple fuels.

The various offerings are derived from a common-base engine, which means they have some common parts. Below the head gasket the engine variants will largely have similar components, but above the head gasket components will vary based on fuel type. The X15 architecture utilizes a belt-driven, high-output 48-volt alternator and aftertreatment heater.

Brett Merritt


“We ultimately believe that there will be a place for more efficient diesel, natural gas and hydrogen internal combustion engines for many years in the commercial vehicle markets we serve. Those products, together with Accelera by Cummins zero-emissions products, will help our customers of all shapes and sizes reduce emissions today and well into the future,” the vice president for on-highway engines, Brett Merritt, said during the call.

The updated diesel X15 will be compliant with 2027 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board-aligned regulations at launch. It is designed to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency while retaining the power ratings of the current engine with up to 605 horsepower and 2,050 pound-feet of torque, Cummins said. It will be capable of using biodiesel blends up to 20% and renewable diesel blends up to 100%. A start date for production is not yet available, but a Cummins spokeswoman said it will be ready when the regulations take effect. All X15 engines are produced in Jamestown, N.Y.

The X15N, a natural gas variant, will be the first of the HELM variants available to customers. That engine is set to begin limited production later in March with full production set for July, the spokeswoman said March 2. The original X15 engine was launched in 1998.

The X15N already can be ordered through Peterbilt Motors Co. and Kenworth Truck Co. dealers, with deliveries expected to start later this year, Cummins said. Serial production of Kenworth T680 and T880 models with the engine is scheduled to start in mid-2024, a spokeswoman for the Paccar unit said in an email.

However, one Kenworth customer got early access to an X15N-equipped T680 day cab, on Feb. 20, as the truck maker handed one over to UPS Inc. The truck is also equipped with an Eaton Endurant HD automated transmission and a 175-diesel gallon equivalent fuel delivery system. It is set to run on compressed natural gas, Kenworth said Feb. 29, but the X15N can also run liquefied natural gas and renewable natural gas. UPS ranks No. 1 on Transport Topics’ Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Jose Samperio


“We have applied our decades of experience with the X15 to our next-generation product and believe these investments will serve our customers well into the future,” said José Samperio, vice president, North America On-Highway. “Our Cummins’ HELM platforms are more than our new products, it is a new philosophy on how we are approaching design. Our existing B, L and X platforms were built at different points in time to respond to different industry and customer needs at the time, for different purposes, each with a different design philosophy. With the HELM platforms, we are taking the best aspects of those products and commonizing our design philosophy and approach.”

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