Cummins unveils more efficient tech, makes stout old soldier new again

Eking out higher fuel efficiency from trucks isn't simple — it may take making efficiency-boosting technology itself more efficient. That's just what Cummins has done with new technology the company unveiled yesterday at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2016 show in Hannover, Germany.

Meanwhile, the company also is proving that its latest diesel engines can be used in unexpected, perhaps even unlikely applications to help vehicles meet the most stringent emissions requirements (see photo below right).

Cummins' new engine technology being shown at IAA includes a more efficient turbocharger; a more compact diesel aftertreatment box; a space- and weight-saving single-cylinder aftertreatment system; and an "ultra-efficient," longer-lasting crankcase ventilation system. Click through the slideshow for details on each.

In addition, Cummins is launching a midrange fuel system in 2017 that the company says offers "industry-leading injection pressure" and "delivers optimal engine performance and improved fuel economy to midrange engines."

These new developments come as a result of a shift, according to Cummins, away from emissions-lowering regulations toward an increased focus on fuel economy. And that latter accomplishes the former: reduce fuel burned to cover the same amount of miles and you'll reduce emissions, too, while also lowering business costs.

Cummins touched on that point in a release. "Customers demand ever-higher levels of efficiency and durability from their commercial vehicles to optimize business costs and address the global challenge of meeting environmental standards," states Tracy Embree, president of Cummins' components business. The new technologies deliver more fuel economy and engine efficiency, longer service intervals, and lower emissions and downtime thanks to higher durability, according to Embree.

An early '60s Routemaster bus in London's ULEZ?

You've seen these double-decker tourist buses in the United Kingdom, and so have we. As part of its showcase at IAA, Cummins has on display "RM1005," a 1962 AEC Routemaster 64-seater London bus with a new lease on life thanks to a Cummins 4.5L turbo diesel transplant it received. The 4-cyl. engine shown in the photo on the left below is good for 150 hp — these buses' original 6-cyl. engines had 115 hp — and up to 10 mpg in the bus, delivering super-low emissions but also "smooth acceleration and quiet operation," Cummins says.

The engine swap required only changes to the dash panel and pedal controls within the driver's half-cab (right side, of course), preserving the Routemaster's vintage character.

The bus is said to belong to Sir Peter Hendy, former commissioner of Transport for London — the agency in charge of that city's transit system — and now chairman of Network Rail, the U.K.'s primary rail system infrastructure and maintenance management company. Hendy challenged Cummins to repower the Routemaster to meet "the most stringent emissions standards," the company says, so it could continue service for charitable work and on heritage routes.

Cummins notes that this particular Routemaster "has welcomed aboard" the likes of Charles, Prince of Wales; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry. This half-century-plus-old motorcoach can now meet upcoming Euro VI emissions standards effective in January — though their applicability in the U.K. could be limited, depending on the pace of Brexit negotiations — and also "is aligned with the intention of" London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) that goes into effect in 2020, according to the company.

And maybe more of these iconic tourist-haulers could be updated with Cummins powerplants as well: "With many hundreds of Routemasters still on the road in the United Kingdom, the successful repower of RM1005 now opens the opportunity for those historic vehicles to continue running with a Cummins clean diesel repower," the company states.


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