Partnering with transmission manufacturer Eaton, the Cummins counter attack is all about gearing up to deliver fuel efficiency at a Euro 6 level from its current Euro 5 platform. Diesel News speaks with Mike Fowler, Cummins On-Highway Engine Director, to find out how.
Continuing uncertainty over the implementation date of Australia’s ADR 80/04, the equivalent of Euro 6 emissions regulations, appears to be causing palpable consternation among Australian truck and engine suppliers as they seek to map out a timeline for the introduction of new technologies in sync with the next round of emissions regs.
Instead of sitting on its hands, Cummins has decided to go on the front foot with specific developmental work on its new X15 engine to enable not only meeting the forthcoming regulations but also driving down fuel consumption.
It’s a fact that the vast majority of Cummins powered on-highway trucks in this country are hauling B-doubles up and down the eastern seaboard. Quite logically, this corridor linking the three eastern state capitals that collectively contain the vast majority of this country’s people is a well-trodden path for road transport.
What’s more, many of these trucks belong to medium to large fleets where an improvement of three or four per cent in the fuel economy of each truck extrapolated over the entire fleet means a sizeable reduction in fuel costs.
Ever mindful of this, Cummins has resolved to optimise its engines to the specific requirements of customers in the B-double segment as well as those in the vocational sector, with products specifically tailored to each application. This is a complex and multi-facetted task, but according to Mike Fowler it is an essential element of Cummins’ ongoing commitment to giving its customers the best solutions for their specific needs.
“We try and keep ahead of the curve in terms of our product planning activities and plan our product road map out for at least ten years,” says Mike. “And five years out we start getting pretty serious about the products we’re going to deliver in each market, focussing heavily on specific customer and market requirements.
“One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced in recent times is the unknown date of implementation for Euro 6 in Australia. This has created quite a bit of anxiety among all the manufacturers as they go through their medium-term product plans not knowing when they need to bring Euro 6 technology into the market.
“Obviously if you’re a truck manufacturer some of the innovative safety features that come with new model trucks complying with Euro 6 aren’t necessarily backward compatible with Euro 5 powertrains.”
Mike proceeds to point out that the implementation of Euro 6 for both light and heavy vehicles is slated to happen concurrently for the first time in Australia’s history. In the past, light vehicle compliance for the more stringent laws has been mandated at a considerably later date than that of the heavy sector.
He says the resultant delay has enabled Cummins to seize the opportunity to, as previously mentioned, ‘keep ahead of the curve.’
“The delay in deciding when this will occur has enabled us to evaluate some alternative approaches to meet Euro 6,” says Mike. “For example, we announced at the Brisbane Truck Show last year that our intention for the 15-litre platform is to meet Euro 6 with an EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) free solution and we’ve been able to achieve that as a function of some engine development work and specifically air handling and exhaust after-treatment targeting emissions reduction.