Navistar’s Ustian: The 13L truck engine will reign

HUNTSVILLE, AL. Navistar president & CEO Dan Ustian believes trucking will move away from 15-liter engines in many cases in favor of more fuel efficient, less costly 13-liter engines. Ustian made his comments during a press briefing here at the company’s Engine Group facility

HUNTSVILLE, AL. Navistar president & CEO Dan Ustian believes trucking will move away from 15-liter engines in many cases in favor of more fuel efficient, less costly 13-liter engines. Ustian made his comments during a press briefing here at the company’s Engine Group facility.

According to Ustian, more than three-quarters of all Big Bore engines sold by Navistar will be 13L models in the future. “I expect 15L will be a lot lower volume; 80% or more [sold] will be 13, maybe even 90%,” he remarked.

Navistar offered media a tour of its Big Bore plant, which produces the MaxxForce 13 and will produce the MaxxForce 15 once it goes into full production. Ustian said the new 15L, which was shown to reporters during the visit, was sent to the Environmental Protection Agency last week for certification.

The company will be selling the 15L, along with 11- and 13-liter engines, to Caterpillar for the new Cat vocational truck, which will debut at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show in Las Vegas in March.

Ramin Younessi, group vp-- product development & strategy, told Fleet Owner that engines meeting the 0.2 grams of NOx limit without credits will be submitted to EPA for certification “within the next few months.” Currently, Navistar is using emissions credits to help it meet EPA 2010 emissions standards.

Ustian, who mentioned the trend to shorter regional hauls as a factor along with cost and fuel efficiency, firmly believes the 13 liter will dominate the market going forward.

“There are some who just want a 15 liter, that’s what they’re used to,” he said. “Some [customers though] we’ve convinced [to switch].”

Ustian said a fleet moving down to a 13L engine could save as much as 1,000 lbs. in weight over a 15L, translating to a 1% gain in fuel economy. Fleets are beginning to realize the advantages, he said. Navistar recently reached agreement with J.B. Hunt to supply 5,000 ProStar+ tractors with MaxxForce 13 engines over the next five years.

Navistar also announced that it has shipped approximately 17,000 EPA 2010 trucks so far this year and has taken orders for 28,000 to date. More than 10,000 of those orders are for the company’s new ProStar+ tractor with MaxxForce 13 engines.

The success of the ProStar+ this year is partly attributed to its weight, Michael Cerilli, vp of marketing for Navistar Truck Group, said. “Our product is clearly the lightest truck in the market today,” he said, pointing out that it is as much as 1,000 lbs. lighter than “some comparably spec’d sleepers.”

Cerilli also said the company is shipping the first 1,000 of its new TerraStar vocational truck to dealers. The majority of the TerraStar orders so far have been for beverage companies, but he expects more orders to come in from a variety of industries, particularly construction as that market returns to normal activity levels.

A 6.4-liter MaxxForce 7 engine powers the TerraStar, delivering 300 hp. and 660 lbs.-ft. of torque. The engine is manufactured of compacted iron graphite and bolted to a ductile iron bedplate. It is the only mid-size engine to be built in this manner, according to Tim Shick, director of business & product. He said the result is an improved “B50 life” of 500,000 mi. That means, he explained, that at least half of the engines sold are expected to last at least 500,000 mi. before the need for an overhaul.

“I think that engine will prove as good as any mid-size engine [available today],” Shick added.

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