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Cummins, the world’s largest diesel engine manufacturer, has long partnered with the Vehicle Technologies Office’s (VTO) advanced combustion program to develop high-efficiency, advanced engines for heavy and light-duty vehicles. While one major light-duty technology is coming on the market in the next year, the company continues to pursue new ways to improve diesel engines’ fuel economy.
The Cummins 5L V8 (8-cylinder) turbo diesel is making its debut in Nissan’s 2016 Titan full-sized pick-up truck. Produced at Cummins’ plant in Columbus, IN, the engine’s fundamental design is based on technology that the VTO co-funded from 1997 through 2004. That research aimed to design a diesel engine that was as quiet and clean as a gasoline engine, yet provide 30% better fuel-economy. Since then, Cummins and Nissan have collaborated to optimize the use of the engine within this specific model.
Cummins continued to build on their success with the Advanced Technology Light Automotive Systems (ATLAS) project, supported by VTO. Starting in 2010, Cummins worked to develop a 2.8L 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine that could be more efficient than the Titan’s baseline gasoline engine. The new engine demonstrated a 53 percent increase in fuel economy, while maintaining impressive levels of horsepower (more than 200 HP) and torque (more than 350 lb-ft). As this new engine could replace the V8, this research is essential to the company’s efforts to meet future emissions and fuel-economy requirements while delivering the performance and durability consumers expect. VTO contributed $15 million to this effort, which was matched by Cummins.
Building on the VTO-supported research with their own funding, Nissan is exploring diesel-powered mid-size pickup trucks through a concept truck powered by a Cummins 2.8L engine. In testing, the Frontier Diesel Runner demonstrated a 35% increase in fuel economy over the current V6 (6-cylinder)-powered Frontier. Similar to the Titan, it demonstrated 200 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Nissan also expects the Frontier Diesel Runner’s payload and towing capacity to match that offered by the current Frontier V6.
These vehicles could continue to expand the fuel-efficient options available to pick-up truck buyers, saving them money, reducing petroleum consumption, and minimizing carbon pollution.
The Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) develops and deploys efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that will enable America to use less petroleum. These technologies will provide Americans with greater freedom of mobility and energy security, while lowering costs and reducing impacts on the environment.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) success stories highlight the positive impact of its work with businesses, industry partners, universities, research labs, and other entities.