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X12 X15 Cummins

Cummins introduces EPA-compliant 2021 X12 and X15 engines

Oct. 14, 2020
Cummins promises more efficiency and longer maintenance intervals with its improved 2021 X12 and X15 engines.

For 2021, Cummins is launching enhanced versions of its Class 8 on-highway X12 and X15 engine lineup, designed for better overall efficiency, total cost of ownership and uptime. These engines will also meet 2021 requirements for the Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions rules set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),  requiring incremental emissions  reductions from 2021 through 2027.

“Cummins’ 2021 heavy-duty products were designed with three core deliverables in mind: increased uptime, better overall total cost of ownership, and improved drivability,” said Brett Merritt, vice president of the Cummins' On-highway Engine Business. “By delivering on these focus areas, Cummins’ products will offer better performance for the customer’s bottom line.”

Now, all of the X-Series engines will be afforded the same innovations introduced with the 2020 X-15 Efficiency Series, including improvements to fuel efficiency and oil change intervals. For those engines holding EX ratings, spec’d with the Eaton Endurant HD automated manual transmission (AMT) and GPS look-ahead data, additional efficiency increases and drivability features, including onramp boost predictive engine braking, predictive gearshift and dynamic power, will be available.

On-ramp boost: This is a safety feature that removes fuel economy controls to achieve safe speed to merge onto the highway, applying max torque when in the top six gears.

Dynamic power: Limits acceleration, not torque, based on load to prevent large deviations in performance from grade to grade.

Predictive gear-shifting: Downshifts at bottom of the hill to ascend as efficiently as possible without constant shifting.

Predictive braking: Even if the driver underestimates the load or misses a speed grade sign, this feature engages max braking from the start for the better control of the vehicle.

Some OEMs have reported to Cummins that nearly half of their X15 Efficiency Series engines spec’d by customers are EX rated.

“That in itself speaks volumes for the new features being released, and the adoption rate from customers,” Merritt said.

The X12 and X15 were originally launched in 2017 for EPA-compliance and to be a more “finely tuned” version of the company's ISX engines. The 2020 X15 engine models have also secured the 100-year-old company’s highest “zero-touch rating” of any product, which measures how many engines complete the base warranty period without requiring service. The “repairs-per-hundred” metric was also lowest in Cummins product history.

This indicates trucks with these Cummins engines will spend less unplanned time in the maintenance bay, though Cummins also has targeted reducing planned time as well. The Efficiency Series engines have a 75,000-mile oil drain interval when customers average 7 or more mpg.

An optional longer fuel filter for the X12, available on certain Autocar, Freightliner and Western Star trucks, among others, will allow customers to sync fuel filter and oil change intervals.

Now, Cummins' Performance Series has also seen a boost.

“We've increased the oil change interval by 10,000 miles for customers getting 6 to 7 miles per gallon as well as those getting 5 to 6 miles per gallon,” explained Nick Roth, Cummins' director of national accounts. “Customers who want to extend their interval further can participate in the Cummins oil guard oil analysis program, which can extend their trucks up to 100,000 miles before needing new oil.”

He added the “X15 and X12 engines have the industry's lowest maintenance costs through the first 500,000 miles.”

Cummins sells 70% Efficiency and 30% Performance Series overall.

An optional air compressor resonator can also lower engine noise while idling and in operation.

The 2020 X15 Efficiency Series (400 to 500 hp) was notable for its 3.5% increase in fuel efficiency across the board over its 2019 predecessor, and an extra 1.5% with the EX rating for 5% total. Improvements to the EGR cooler and turbocharger facilitated this.

The X15 Performance Series (525 to 605 hp and 2,050 lb.-ft. peak torque) now has a 2% better fuel efficiency compared to the 2017 X15 Performance Series. The Performance Series will also now be offered with SmartCoast, Predictive Cruise Control and Predictive Road Speed Governor, when mated with an AMT.

Trucks powered by the 2021 X12 engines, good for line haul, regional and vocational applications, should see a 2.5% uptick with the base model and 4% overall with the EX rating. Kris Ptasznik, heavy-duty on-highway product manager, explained increased compression ratios and reduced frictional losses through modified ring packs led to the improvements.

“Select customers [are] routinely seeing or exceeding 9 miles per gallon with both our X12 and X15 engines,” Roth said.

RaNae Isaak, Cummins Powertrain & TCO Consultancy Leader, said using Smart Coast, cruise control and Smart Torque 2 strategy can lead to fleets getting more than 10 mpg.

Additionally, Cummins has made its PowerSpec tool available online, called PowerSpec Web. Previously this tool was only accessible on a PC and required a download.

“Cummins has really focused on making the spec’ing process easy to use, with built in filters to help select the appropriate transmissions and axles based on the equipment customers are considering,” Isaak said. “Additionally, the feature description tool helps inform fleets and drivers of the interaction between features, and the hardware or software requirements needed to enable specific features.”

About the Author

John Hitch | Editor

John Hitch, based out of Cleveland, Ohio, is the editor of Fleet Maintenance, a B2B magazine that addresses the service needs for all commercial vehicle makes and models (Classes 1-8), ranging from shop management strategies to the latest tools to enhance uptime.

He previously wrote about equipment and fleet operations and management for FleetOwner, and prior to that, manufacturing and advanced technology for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest. He is an award-winning journalist and former sonar technician aboard a nuclear-powered submarine.

For tips, questions or comments, email [email protected].

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