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While Environment Canada introduced in early April new federal emission standards that won't take effect until 2004 model year engines, those same stringent emission standards already will be in effec...

While Environment Canada introduced in early April new federal emission standards that won’t take effect until 2004 model year engines, those same stringent emission standards already will be in effect on many engines produced after October 2002.

New emission standards imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) apply to Caterpillar, Cummins Engine Inc., Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC), Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks North America. The EPA’s new regulations require standards for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and hydrocarbons (NMHC) in heavy-duty engines – 2.5-gram NOx+NMHC standards – which represent about a 40% reduction in emissions of NOx and NMHC compared to current engines.

At issue is the deadline of the standards, which the EPA accelerated by 15 months from January 2004, and how that may compromise the engines that meet the deadline.

In the late 1990s, the EPA claimed that five engine manufacturers had installed “defeat devices” on their engines, which enabled the engines to comply with emission standards for certification while not conforming during actual operation. The engine manufacturers argued that they had alerted the EPA to flaws in its testing.

Ultimately, the EPA and the engine manufacturers came to a compromise, and in 1998, the heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturers signed a consent decree with the EPA and U.S. Department of Justice. In exchange for avoiding retribution for the alleged defeat devices, the manufacturers agreed to meet an earlier deadline for the new emission requirements.

International is not subject to the Oct. 1 deadline, explained an International spokesman. There are several reasons for this; namely, International focuses mainly on mid-range engines, and the company was not perceived as having installed “defeat devices” on its engines, the spokesman said.

Also referred to as a “pull-ahead” provision, the consent decree took more than a year away from design, testing and development of new engines. That’s as much time as some fleets have tested new engines for manufacturers prior to launch.

So, while new product launches from engine manufacturers typically promise better performance, more reliability, reduced maintenance and other user- and cost-friendly enhancements, many have raised questions about the integrity and cost implications of the new engines. Has there been enough time to fully test them, and will they perform as well as existing engines? Other concerns include the cost of the engines, which can be measured in more ways than one.

Costs are estimated by calculating engine cost, increased fuel costs, other operating costs, reliability, warranty costs and non-conformance penalties (NCPs). (For costs estimated by the EPA, see the chart on page 20.)

One of the more outspoken critics of the new engines is U.S. fleet Schneider National. According to Thomas E. Vandenburg, General Counsel at Schneider, the potential cost to society may be as much as $2 billion, as calculated in U.S. dollars.

“How will shippers and receivers react to a $2 billion tab without an increase in productivity?” he asked. “My point is…(trucking) will take on the bill.”

Stephen Laskowski, Manager of Policy Development at Ontario Trucking Association/Canadian Trucking Alliance, acknowledged that the shipping industry must be informed.

“The biggest impact will be the 2-4% reduction in fuel economy – that is pretty significant,” Laskowski said. Declining comments about the engines themselves, he said OTA is “performing an education role to our members based on information provided by government.”

The CTA has issued a two-page summary to members that details cost ramifications, including upfront and operating costs.

“Our next role is to educate the shipping community that we will have cleaner air but at a higher cost. That is probably our most significant role,” Laskowski said. “We need to communicate to shippers that cleaner air is everyone’s responsibility.”

Earlier this year, much of the concern was generated by the lack of any certified engines for the looming October deadline. However, Cummins announced in early April that it had received certification from the EPA for its new engines, the first company to do so. All of the manufacturers have announced their intent to have EPA-certified engines available by October. Even Caterpillar, which did not anticipate meeting the October deadline and in February approached the EPA with a request that the deadline be postponed, announced in late March that it would meet the deadline.

Two technologies are being used to achieve the emission standards. Cummins, DDC, Mack and Volvo are using exhaust gas recirculation, or EGR technology, while Cat is using a catalytic converter and other technologies it calls ACERT, for Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology.

EGR is a process which takes a small amount of exhaust gas from the exhaust manifold, sends it through a cooler to reduce the temperature, then blends it with fresh intake air before it goes into the combustion chamber. This lowers combustion temperatures and reduces emissions, while maintaining power and efficiency.

Putting the exhaust back into the engine creates a couple of drawbacks, including hotter operating temperatures which raises concerns over drain intervals and the durability of the engines.

All of the manufacturers presented their proposed solutions in March. To follow is what they have to say about how they are meeting the standards and what their products will offer.

Cat says that the most popular ratings of its heavy-duty and mid-range engines will be available in October 2002. These engines will contain some of the technological advances of its ACERT technology. The company anticipates the engines will be fully certified by the EPA.

“The heavy duty C-10, C-12 and C-15 will be available after October 2002, as well as the mid-range 3126E,” said Jim McReynolds, General Manager, Caterpillar On-Highway Engine Division.

The engines that will be available in October 2002 will contain some of the ACERT building blocks while retaining other aspects of its current engines. Selected models will be released with full ACERT technology beginning in January 2003, with full production of all ACERT engines planned by October 2003, according to McReynolds.

“Rushing engines to market without sufficient testing will not help the customer, nor will it preserve environmental quality. We simply will not bring the full ACERT engine technology to market until it has been appropriately tested in the field,” McReynolds said.


Cummins first began field testing of the ISX engine, which relies on EGR technology, in December 1999 and will have accumulated more than 9.6 million km of on-highway vehicle field-testing and 115,000 hours of laboratory tests by October.

“We believe cooled EGR is the best technology for this standard,” said Tom Kieffer, Executive Director – Marketing, Cummins. Kieffer also said the company has gotten positive feedback on its new ISX engines in blind field tests.

Kieffer agreed that the new engine will cost more, and, while he said he had heard industry comments of the engines costing US$3,000 to US$5,000 more, he said a truck OEM would have to confirm actual increase in cost since they are the ones who sell to the end user.

As for fuel economy, Kieffer said Cummins’ new engines would be 3-5% less fuel efficient than current engines. However, Cummins said most truck owners will see no change from their current preventive maintenance intervals. The ISX is designed to go up to 40,234 km in normal use and 56,328 km between service intervals in the case of light-duty applications.

“Performance of the new engines will be improved in terms of engine braking capability and overall engine responsiveness,” said John Wall, Cummins Vice President andChief Technical Officer.

Detroit Diesel

DDC first began production of cooled EGR engines more than two years ago in the transit bus industry. In the last two years, DDC has placed more than 2,500 heavy-duty cooled EGR engines into service in this
industry. By October, approximately 3,500 of these engines will be running throughout Canada and the U.S.

In regards to truck engines, in-use durability testing began on DDC’s EGR Series 60 engines in early 2001, and since that time six test vehicles have run more than 1,600 km per day at 80,000 pounds GVW. An additional test vehicle has been dedicated to cross-country runs.

In February, two additional prototype EGR Series 60 engines were placed into revenue service with one of DDC’s largest customers, a truckload operation that has put 3,200-4,000 kilometers per week on the engines. Additional 2002 Series 60 pre-production test engines are being released to other customers for evaluation.

Approximately 95% of all current ratings will be available for the Oct. 1 deadline. DDC said it will submit applications for 2002 emissions certification to the EPA approximately 30-60 days in advance of scheduled production. The first production versions of the 2002 Series 60 engines are scheduled to be available in September.


In March, Mack announced that it is addressing the new regulations with what it referred to as “application-specific” solutions. To meet the requirements, Mack will launch a new family of heavy duty diesel engines, with specific models designed for highway vehicles and vocational vehicles.

The new EPA ’02 certified engines will be known as the ASET family, which is an acronym for Application Specific Engine Technology. All ASET engines rely on EGR.

Like the other manufacturers, the company will use cooled exhaust gas recirculation (C-EGR) technology in its engines ticketed for highway tractors. Internal exhaust gas recirculation (I-EGR) will be employed for engines destined for vocational trucks.

Modifications to the fuel system and software were the initial changes made to Mack engines in developing its C-EGR technology. An improved filtering medium was then added to the oil filtration system, along with a new oil pan that accommodates an additional seven quarts of oil that the C-EGR engines will require. The increased oil capacity levels will keep oil change intervals similar to current engines.

Other changes include a new EGR valve to regulate the recirculation of exhaust gases and a Mack Venturi mixing valve that combines inlet air and cooled exhaust gas prior to introduction into the cylinder. A new variable geometry turbocharger provides the pressure necessary to drive the recirculated gases into the intake valve.

The ASET I-EGR solution for vocational vehicles was developed since they operate differently from on-highway trucks. I-EGR accomplishes emissions reduction by having a percentage of exhaust gases remain in the cylinders of the engine from one combustion cycle to another, until the targeted emission levels are met. This approach provides a consistent level of emission benefits and performance in the varying and often harsh environments in which vocational trucks operate.


Volvo announced its solution to the emissions standards in July 2001 and unveiled its V-Pulse technology solution this March with its 12-litre engine (VED12). Volvo said it has been conducting extensive field-testing with a variety of fleets under natural climate conditions and freight applications.

“V-Pulse technology is truly a unique approach to the EPA ’02 mandate,” said Susan Alt, Vice President of Marketing, Volvo Trucks North America. “Exhaust gas recirculation is a common solution for diesel engine manufacturers; however Volvo’s approach is unlike all others…the beauty of it is in the simplicity.”

The company said V-Pulse technology is innovative because it does not require a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) to achieve the exhaust gas recirculation necessary to reduce combustion emission and particulate matter to required levels. V-Pulse technology achieves EGR by harnessing naturally occurring engine pressure as a means to reintroduce up to 30 percent of the combustion by-product back into the intake mixing chamber.

According to Volvo, the V-Pulse design requires minimal changes in maintenance procedures and no new technical education.

To date, many V-Pulse equipped Volvo 12-litre engines have logged 160,000-plus km. Some have already returned to the Volvo Technical Center to be disassembled, inspected and placed back in line service for additional testing. Volvo anticipates that the VED12 Volvo engines with V-Pulse technology will have logged a cumulative field test total in excess of 4.8 million km by the deadline.

Added Cost Estimates for Use of October 2002 Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines

Cost Scenario 1/Manufacturers Scenario 2/Vehicle Owners
Per Engine Fixed Cost $900 $1,050
Hardware Cost $3,045 $3,600
Warranty Cost $1,005 $1,500
Operating Costs: Scheduled Maintenance $570 $1,110
Operating Costs: Post-Warranty Repairs $840 $1,695
Operating Costs: Demurrage $480 $840
Fuel Cost (%) 767,000 miles @ 2.5% worse 1,000,000 miles @ 4% worse
Fuel Cost ($) @ $1.55/gal $5,430 $10,695
Operating Costs: Revenue Impact $720 $945
Vehicle Manufacturing Costs $420 $750
TOTAL $13,410 $22,185

New Engine Cost Implications for Carriers

The U.S. EPA has produced a report, Nonconformance Penalties for 2004 Highway Heavy Duty Diesel Engines, which includes compliance cost estimates based on data provided by engine manufacturers, independent cost analyses and the EPA’s technical judgment.

In the EPA report all dollar figures were expressed in constant 2001 U.S. dollars. In the chart above, provided by the Canadian Trucking Alliance, CTA has converted these figures into Canadian dollar figures at the exchange rate posted on Jan. 10, 2001. Costs are broken down into costs to manufacturers (Scenario 1) and operating costs for vehicle owners (Scenario 2).

The EPA estimated fuel costs using a price of $1.50/gallon for 2004 and 2005, and $1.55/ gallon for 2006 and beyond.

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