Everything but a diesel engine
The first thing you need to know about Cummins’ engine strategy is its fuel-neutral approach in its heavy-duty and medium-duty engine lines. This means that the new fuel-independent engine platforms will comprise a series of engines derived from a common base engine – below the head gasket each engine will have largely similar components and above the cylinder head will have different components for different fuel types.
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Each engine version will run on a different, unique fuel, and these will be custom designed at the factory, so no fuel type changes once the engine is made. This new design approach will be applied to all of the company’s B-, L-, and X-series engine portfolios, which will be available for diesel, natural gas, and hydrogen. The engine platform will start rolling out in 2024.
On the test track, I got behind the wheel of a 6.7-liter Cummins gasoline engine; an ISX natural gas engine (which will be replaced by X-Series natural gas engines when the company begins producing its fuel-agnostic platform), and a Cummins battery-electric truck with no… engine, per se. We’ll save that one for last.
Cummins was tight-lipped on gasoline engine specifications, as these were still pre-production models the company was developing. They have been shown in several applications – a Freightliner crew cab chassis and a Dodge RAM 2500 – and you can see that the gasoline engines will tackle similar applications as the current B 6.7 diesel engine.
The aim, according to the engine manufacturer, is to provide a gasoline engine with “diesel-like performance”. Horsepower figures thrown around put the top-end HP at around 320 with 660 lb-ft of torque. Again, these are pre-series numbers and are subject to change. Production is scheduled for 2024.
Test drive the trucks, it was really comparable to diesel.
Jumping into a Class 8 Kenworth with an ISX natural gas engine – remember the X-series natural gas engines will become Cummins’ newest natural gas engine offering when available. And availability is getting ever closer, with the recent announcement that PACCAR will work with Cummins Inc. to offer the new Cummins X15N natural gas engine in Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks. These trucks will serve applications up to 500 HP and 1,850 lb-ft. of maximum torque. The manufacturer also noted that the new X15N is capable of NOx levels below 2024 EPA and CARB standards.
And now we come to the only vehicle without a Cummins engine, but to be fair, there is no engine at all.
This is the Cummins battery-electric system in an Isuzu FTR, following the previous announcement that Cummins and Isuzu will create a prototype medium-duty battery-electric truck to be demonstrated in North America. Cummins integrates the Cummins PowerDrive6000 into the Isuzu F-series truck. Isuzu will explore opportunities to market medium-duty battery-electric trucks with Cummins-powered systems across North America, following a successful demonstration and pilot phase.
Much like in the engine business, Cummins’ game in the battery-electric space is all about brains and horsepower. The company develops battery packs and modules and then integrates them into powertrain components. Again, Cummins wasn’t talking about specs or product details, but the test drive was smooth, the EV was powerful and peppy, and we really can’t wait to see more innovations from Cummins in matter of electric vehicles.
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