ASHEVILLE, NC – Lud Koci believes a lot of the positive attributes of diesel engines are being overlooked by the trucking industry and the general public as the implementation of new emission standards draws near.
At a recent press conference held by Freightliner LLC, the former vice chairman & CEO of engine maker Detroit Diesel explained that low-emission technology does not make post-October 1 engines inferior.
For starters, he said exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology is not as complicated as everyone thinks, he said. Despite having to add more components to its Series 60 heavy-duty engine to reduce emissions, Detroit Diesel has actually reduced its weight by 25 pounds compared to pre-October 1 models, Koci noted.
Koci added that tests on the EGR-equipped Series 60 showed that ring wear has improved 70% and that oil drain intervals have remain unchanged at 25,000 miles, despite fears that higher soot levels would compromise those intervals.
"We're making the best of this situation," said Koci, who retired this August after a 47-year career at Detroit Diesel but will continue with the company as a consultant. "We have always said the 2002 deadline was too limited to give us time to do what we wanted to do with EGR technology. We have lacked opportunities to do the tests with fleets we wanted to."
Still, he points out that Detroit Diesel has built over 2,500 EGR-equipped diesel engines for transit buses since 1996 and will total eight million test miles on EGR engines by October. To him, that means EGR-equipped engines have proved themselves on the road and in the market.
"We have dealt with many emission standards over the past three decades, but have always made the engines better," he said. "I don't think a fleet would trade in one of today's engines for one built in 1970. As engine manufacturers, we have put our shoulder to the grindstone and have made engines better and better, despite years of emission-reduction efforts."