Emission mandates steering engineers to better MPGs, performance

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The 2017 Cummins ISX15The 2017 Cummins ISX15

In the quest to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and greenhouse gas mandates, diesel engine manufacturers have been presented with a challege: Reduce engine emissions, not engine performance.

That’s not always been easy, but Mario Sanchez-Lara, Cummins’ director of on-highway marketing communications, says technology has made it possible.

“The technology that is available to us now,” he says, “that helps us to deal with particulate matter and NOx, has really provided more degrees of freedom to achieve efficiency without sacrificing performance.”

Cummins this week announced the EPA has certified its line of on-highway diesel and natural gas engines for meeting both the current EPA regulations and the second step in greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel-efficiency standards which take effect in January 2017.

Sanchez-Lara points out that the EPA’s increased regulations have led Cummins’ engineers to develop engines that not only have improved emissions, but are also more fuel-efficient.

Fuel efficiency is improved across the commercial vehicle engine lineup from 5.0 liters to 15 liters.

Following the Volkswagen diesel debacle, in which the German automaker was caught using defeating techniques producing higher emissions in real world use, a higher level of scrutiny is expected as emissions mandates continue to tighten.

“True,” Sanchez-Lara says, “and this drives increased pressure in assuring the effectiveness of engine controls and diagnostic monitors while yet preserving the leading efficiency of diesel engines. The granted certification is testimony of the Cummins commitment to cleaner environment and higher efficiency.”

Throughout 2014 and 2015, Cummins implemented efficiency enhancements that enable its engines to meet EPA 2016 and GHG 2017 requirements. On-board diagnostics requirements are met with enhanced monitors, ensuring that exhaust tailpipe emissions stay within the EPA limits.

A particulate matter (PM) sensor has been implemented, and electronic controls have been enhanced to interact with the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) quality sensor implemented by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on DEF tanks. With a focus on continuous improvement, Cummins plans to incorporate further product enhancements to improve performance, reliability and efficiency throughout 2016.