The number of 2010 EPA emission-compliant heavy duty on-highway diesel engines in use has been gradually increasing. “The slower uptake of the 2010 and now 2011 engines has been more a function of lack of confidence in the economy than lack of confidence in the technology,” says Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the economic importance of diesel engines.
“The March freight tonnage index is up over 6 percent according to the American Trucking Associations, and recently, ACT Research reported that Class 8 truck orders are now up more than 25,000 units for five consecutive months,” he says. “That would put us on a yearly pace of well over 200,000 units - a very strong sign of recovery and a confidence in the technology.”
With the economy on the uptick and fuel prices at $4 per gallon-plus, fuel efficiency is more important than ever before. Truck orders are up in large part due to the benefits of the new engine technology in saving fuel, says Schaeffer. “Everyone is pretty consistently saying they are getting 5 percent gain in fuel economy.”
In general, customer acceptance and satisfaction of the 2010 EPA engines is quite high. Truck owners and users have been “very satisfied,” and in many cases the results have exceeded their expectations for performance and power, and they have experienced fuel economy surpassing 2007 engine levels.
“We know the diesel engine still has a few tricks left up its sleeve in getting more efficiency out, and that is expected to be in round one of the final greenhouse gas emissions rule,” the Diesel Technology Forum’s Schaeffer says. “The later aspects of the rule will likely push more into vehicle integration and vehicle issues than engine issues.”
For drivers, “it is a matter of awareness and education” with the 2010 EPA engines, says Kurt Freitag, director of aftermarket for Paccar, which manufactures Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks. These engines are “significantly different in how they run compared to previous engines.” Because the engines are quieter, the driver feels different sensations - less vibrations, no turbo noise, no rumbling, etc.
A driver that is used to hearing turbo noise or feeling the way a vehicle vibrates as an indication to shift won’t have that with the new engines, he says.
From January 1, 2010, through end of March 2011, Cummins has built and shipped more 89,100 EPA 2010 engines, says the company’s Christy Nycz, manager of on-highway communications. More than 25,000 of that volume includes ISX15 and ISX11.9 engines.
Paccar began installing its 2010 emissions-compliant MX diesel engines in Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks for the U.S and Canada last June, says Paccar’s Freitag. “Currently we have thousands in service and demand is up.”
“Since the start of the commercial launch in September 2009 of our fully certified EPA 2010 Mack ClearTech engines, demand has been strong, even in light of the mountain of stockpiled competitor pre-2010 engines,” David McKenna, Mack Trucks’ director of powertrain sales and marketing, says.
Ed Saxman, product manager - powertrain, for Volvo Trucks North America, says: “Since we started filling customer orders for actual production units in the fall of 2009, more than 1,000 customers across all market segments in the U.S. and Canada have purchased trucks with Volvo’s EPA 2010 solution. Demand continues to grow and we continue to see a very strong re-order rate.”
“Detroit Diesel Corporation has produced or sold approximately 65,000 EPA 2010 engines since January 1, 2010, and has delivered more than 30,000 of them to customers,” says Brad Williamson, manager of engine and component marketing for Daimler Trucks North America. Detroit Diesel is an affiliate of Daimler Trucks.