Revamped Cummins ISX 15 Engine First to Be EPA-Certified for 2014

By Jonathan S. Reiskin, Associate News Editor

This story appears in the Oct. 8 print edition of Transport TopicsClick here to subscribe today.

Cummins Inc. said it has received federal certification that its new 15-liter engine meets the coming 2014 greenhouse-gas standards, the latest sign that North America’s heavy-duty truck and engine makers are making headway in preparing for the new rule.

While other manufacturers say they believe their engines will meet the standard, the Cummins ISX 15 is the first model to be officially certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. That engine is used by almost all of the truck makers in North America.

The Columbus, Ind., engine maker also has filed with EPA for its ISX 12-liter heavy-duty power plant and several midrange engines and could win certification for them this month, Cummins engineers said in an interview.

Daimler Trucks North America already has earned federal certification of its Freightliner and Western Star trucks and has filed for its Detroit brand engines. Volvo Group’s two North American lines — Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks — have applied to EPA and are waiting for a response.

“The certification of the ISX 15 demonstrates Cummins’ commitment to deliver products that exceed both environmental and customer requirements,” company Vice President Jeff Jones said in an Oct. 1 statement. The new 15-liter engine will go into limited production in Jamestown, N.Y., later this month and full production in January.

The greenhouse gas rule was written by EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin­istration to address the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by heavy- and medium-duty trucks. The August 2011 rule sets standards for emissions and mileage. Previously, EPA had emphasized the need to reduce diesel engine emissions of nitrogen oxide compounds and particulate matter.

The greenhouse gas, GHG, rule sets standards for trucks and engines made from January 2014. The rule’s second-stage standards kick in as of 2017.

The current ISX 15 is used broadly throughout North America as an option on Freightliner, Navistar, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Volvo and Western Star trucks. Only Mack does not offer the ISX 15.

To reduce emissions of NOx and PM, in the past, engines were made to perform less efficiently. However, the strategy to reduce CO2 output works the other way, engine makers have said, in that the best way to reduce greenhouse emissions is to improve fuel economy.

Cummins said the new engine is about 2% more efficient than the previous version; im­provements were made by in­creasing the efficiency of combustion and the water, fuel and lubrication pumps.

Cummins com­pleted its ISX 15 filings to EPA’s Washington headquarters and Ann Arbor, Mich., vehicle laboratory in late summer said Rich Wagner, director of product environmental management. There also was a lot of preliminary work done before that, he said.

Wagner and Brian Mormino, director of energy policy and emissions compliance, said Cummins anticipates getting approval on its diesel-powered ISX 12 within a matter of weeks.

The ISX 12G, which uses natural gas, is made by Cummins’ joint venture with Westport Innovations. It is scheduled to go into production early next year, and the joint venture will seek 2014 certification for that model in a separate filing.

Among its midrange engines, Cummins has filed with EPA for its ISL 9-liter and its ISB 6.7-liter. Wagner said they could win certification before Nov. 1.

The ISL is used frequently to power day cabs, medium-duty trucks for distribution work and vocational trucks. The ISB is used mainly in buses.

The ISL and ISB also come in natural-gas models, and those applications will be made later, Wagner said.

As part of the EPA testing protocols, Wagner and Mormino said there are separate test standards and procedures for over-the-road and vocational trucks. Cement mixers, dump trucks and the like are allowed to emit more CO2 than highway tractors because of the nature of their operations.

At DTNA’s engine division, “All model-year 2013 Detroit Diesel Corp. certification applications have been submitted for approval,” said spokesman David Giroux.

The company manufactures its Detroit brand in three sizes: 13, 15 and 16 liters.

Giroux said it is important to understand that the rule has separate procedures for truck and engine certification. Daimler’s trucks already have won certification, he said.

“It is our goal to pace the industry in emissions compliance and fuel efficiency. Early submissions for GHG14 engine compliance is evidence of this strategy for the updated family of Detroit engines,” said Brad Williamson, DTNA’s manager of engine and component marketing.

Volvo and Mack have filed with EPA and are waiting for a response, executives from the two brands said.

“Mack has applied for GHG certification across our product range,” said John Walsh, vice president of marketing. “We are on track to be fully compliant.”

Walsh and Volvo Vice President Magnus Koeck said their respective brands are stressing better fuel economy by synchronizing proprietary engines and transmissions.

“Being a vertically integrated manufacturer helps us to improve the efficiency of our vehicles. The XE13 powertrain package, which utilizes proprietary Volvo engines and our I-Shift automated manual transmission, offers about a 3% fuel efficiency gain compared with a standard manual transmission with overdrive,” said Koeck.

Paccar Inc. Treasurer Robin Easton was asked about his company’s efforts regarding Kenworth Trucks and Peterbilt Motors and said, “We will be making our announcements when we see fit and are ready to do so.” He declined further comment.

Navistar Inc., maker of International Trucks and MaxxForce engines, also declined to comment.


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