Cummins recently announced the release of two new 2017-compliant engines, one optimized for fuel economy and lowered operating costs, and the other for strong performance. This signifies a new era for Cummins focused on delivering finely tuned products to its truck customers.
The ISX15 was already one of the transportation industry’s favorite engines for Class 8 trucks. The new optimized engines, rebranded simply as X15, were introduced in July at the 4,500-acre Transportation Research Center (TRC) in Ohio. Trucks out on the tracks demonstrated how the latest 15-liter engines could set a new standard for efficiency and performance while also enhancing the driving experience.
“The X15 signals the arrival in 2017 of a new heavy duty power capability to enable our customer’s success by unleashing unprecedented levels of dependable performance and fuel efficiency,” said Brett Merritt, Cummins Executive Director of On-Highway Business. He added that the two segment-optimized engines, “realize the full potential of our 15-liter platform.”
The two new versions of the popular ISX15, the X15 Performance Series and X15 Efficiency Series, boast mostly electronic changes. However, physical changes were a part of the rebuilding as well. The adjustments include modifications to the air handling system and reduced plastic drag in both models. Even the driver interface boasts simplification with fewer lamps promoting ease of use.
The X15 Efficiency Series, rated at 400 hp to 500 hp, is optimized to deliver peak torque at lower RPMs. This facilitates additional down speeding without forgoing drivability. Fier notes that the X15 Efficiency Series also delivers 3 percent better fuel economy compared to 2016 equivalent models.
Industry test-drivers taking out the production-intent versions of the X15s admired that the enhancements to the new engines were subtle yet noticeable. Jim Park, Equipment Editor for Trucking Info, noted that the 2017 models “felt peppier, a little quicker and smoother to respond and generally had a firmer feeling to them.”
The older ISX15 was a popular engine, but that did not stop Cummins from scrutinizing and modifying every critical component and system of their engine to upgrade and improve their product. The company invested four years of work and 9 million miles of real-world driving into their new engines.
“Over the past few years we have been delivering 2 percent better fuel economy per year, and the new X15 Efficiency Series will deliver that and more.”
The performance experiences reported by field-test drivers surpassed pulling and braking power expectations as well as fuel efficiency and uptime. The result is two reinvented X15 engines that deliver the best performance and dependability in the industry.
“We are able to achieve this because of Cummins deep understanding of our customer needs, and a strong market presence that provides us with a unique degree of heavy duty expertise,” said Amy Boerger, Cummins Vice President of North American Engine Business.
The X15 Performance Series, rated at 485 hp to 605 hp, offers maximum pulling power and performance with prolonged peak torque for a broader power band. It also offers an ample RPM operating range for less gear-shifting when hauling heavy loads and climbing mountains.
“Over the past few years we have been delivering 2 percent better fuel economy per year, and the new X15 Efficiency Series will deliver that and more,” Merritt said. Efficiency is additionally maximized when combined with other systems like the enhanced industry-leading INTEBRAKE™ which increases braking power at lower RPMs. Other systems including the ADEPT suite (Advanced Dynamic Efficient Powertrain Technology) featuring Smart Coast and SmartTorque2 (ST2) improve efficiency.
“Previous versions of Smart Coast dropped the engine to a 600 RPM idle, but for 2017 Cummins is so confident in faster transient response from the new air handling system that it’s comfortable letting the engine drop to 500 RPM with no worries about rapid re-engagement,” writes Park.
The optional technologies preview upcoming terrain using GPS and then adjust engine and transmission performance accordingly to minimize downshifts and maximize fuel economy. The predictive cruise control (PCC) feature, currently available only on Paccar products, is also scheduled to be available on Cummins OEs in 2017. Both engines feature optimized cam profiles to minimize loss during combustion and increase thermal efficiency. The crankcase breather is now much smaller and maintenance-free. The new engines now also have the highest compression ratio in the industry, helped along by the Cummins VGT® Turbo and XPI fuel system, improving engine response and reducing fuel consumption.
The improved operational efficiency of both new Cummins 2017 X15 engines increases uptime and profitability. When combined with the proven value of the Connected Diagnostics system, along with the newly introduced Connected Solutions™ telematics features, service accuracy and speed is accelerated. Further enhanced by the largest parts and service network in the industry, it’s easy to see how maintenance will be reduced and intervals extended. The engines are slated for limited production of 1,400 units in October 2016 with full production planned for January 2017.