March 15, 2017 4:00 PM, EDT

GHG Regulations Drive Engine, Trailer Development

This story appears in the March 13 print edition of Equipment & Maintenance Update, a supplement to Transport Topics.

The effect of current and future emissions regulations on the trucking industry, particularly those for engines and trailers, are examined in two stories in this issue of Equipment & Maintenance Update.

Fran Lysiak

Diesel engines built this year are more efficient, which is a result of the second step of greenhouse-gas Phase 1 standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Contributing writer John Baxter reports that these engines also offer improved reliability, reduced maintenance and performance improvements.

New diesels used in heavy-duty tractors must consume, in a particular duty cycle, 15 fewer grams per horsepower-hour of diesel fuel, a savings of 3.08%, he reports.

BEST OF MARCH E&MU: More stories, columns

Advances in engineering also are showcased in these latest power plants.

For example, Tim Proctor, technical leader for heavy-duty products at Cummins Inc., described changes in the new version of its 15-liter platform, the X15. The Efficiency Series version of that engine includes the “Atkinson cycle,” which ultimately means that this 15-liter engine behaves like a smaller engine in terms of breathing, while taking advantage of its larger cylinders to provide more expansion of the hot gases, converting more cylinder pressure into horsepower, Baxter reports.

The biggest change in Volvo’s and Mack’s 2017 engines? The Wave piston, said John Moore, powertrain product marketing manager at Volvo. Among the key benefits is that soot is reduced by 90%, and this piston allows the companies to increase their engines’ efficiency, the story reports.

Before this issue went to press, Navistar was scheduled to announce that it is replacing its N-13 engine with the A-26. That is its new 13-liter engine compliant with the 2017 Phase 1 GHG standards.

“The biggest challenge was optimizing the breathing and fuel systems,” said Darren Gosbee, Navistar’s vice president of engineering. Ultimately, a portion of the engine is “much cleaner,” he said.

Read about advancements in the 2017 engines from other major manufacturers, including Detroit, a unit of Daimler Trucks North America, and Paccar Inc., as well as some fleet experiences with these engines.

As for the Phase 2 GHG rule, finalized last year, a cover story focuses on the anticipated effect on trailer manufacturers and fleets starting next year — at least as of press time for this issue.

Contributing writer Bruce Lilly reports that trailers purchased by fleets in 2018 must comply with Phase 2 but that there will be many equipment options to do so. These options include low-rolling-resistance tires, side skirts and other aerodynamic devices, automatic tire inflation systems, tire pressure monitoring systems and lighter-weight components, such as aluminum wheels and wide-base tires, his story reports.

And, as is generally the case with other aspects of GHG, these trailer-equipment options come at a price.

“The GHG Phase 2 regulations will increase the cost of trailers,” said Gary Fenton, vice president of engineering at Stoughton Trailers.

Also, some fleets view the Phase 2 regulations as adding costs without a clear benefit when it comes to areas such as improved fuel mileage, Lilly reports.

In an accompanying piece, he reports that the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association filed a lawsuit over the Phase 2 final federal rule on GHG regulations, challenging only the regulations that apply to trailers.

“The EPA claims authority under the Clean Air Act,” TTMA President Jeff Sims said. “If you read the definition in the Clean Air Act, trailers are not included, so they have overstepped their boundary in regulating trailers.”

This legal saga is likely to continue this year, and E&MU is sure to follow the developments.