Engine update

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The Cummins ISX heavy-duty diesel engine equipped with exhaust gas recirculation technology has been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency for production after Oct. 1.

Cummins began field tests of the ISX engine in December 1999 and will have more than 6 million miles of on-highway vehicle field-testing and 115,000 hours of laboratory tests by Oct. 1, the company said.

“The certification by the EPA of the first of our new engines proves beyond any doubt that we will provide a product line that will fulfill our commitment to meet the 2.5-gram NOx+NMHC standard,” said Joe Loughrey, Cummins executive vice president and president of its engine business.

Meanwhile, Caterpillar, which has long acknowledged that its engines won’t fully comply with EPA mandates by Oct. 1, is pushing a proposal for a 12-month extension of the deadline with the understanding that the engines built after that date perform better than the EPA minimum standard for nitrogen oxide.

In a March 27 letter to customers, Cat reaffirmed that its own Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology, or ACERT, will not be ready for production until early 2003. The company committed, however, to having an engine in the interim that is “value priced” and certified in all 50 states and Canada.

“But, having said all that, we believe that you need to be aware that there is an industry crisis looming that will affect your bottom line in a significant way,” James Parker, vice president of the Caterpillar Engine Division, told customers. He said that by EPA’s own reckoning, an EGR-equipped engine would cost an additional $15,000 per truck over its life in acquisition and operating costs and reduced fuel economy. “At a time when some sectors of the economy are reporting early signs of an upturn, this type of cost increase could have a chilling effect – not just on the trucking industry, but eventually on the economy as a whole.”

Other engine manufacturers say they will be ready, although they concede that more time for field testing would be desirable.

“At the time we signed the consent decree in 1998, Detroit Diesel Corp. was concerned that the time allowed to meet the new standards was minimal in comparison to normal development and testing,” said Lud Koci, Detroit Diesel Corp. vice chairman and CEO.

“But consistent with our initial commitment, we have met our objectives. Having said that, we still believe the industry would be well-served by a longer period of time for customers to test our new engines and prove to themselves that the 2002 Series 60 continues the engine’s long tradition of excellent performance, fuel efficiency and low cost of operation.”