Project Innovation Transport (PIT) has secured funding from the Quebec government to explore the issue of engine programming. This is an interesting project and because the government is paying for it, PIT will share the results with all of us and not just member organizations.

This study came to be after a conversation at a trade show between PIT director Yves Provencher and an engine rep. The engine guy bemoaned that 80% of customers order trucks with the default engine parameters, essentially spending more time deciding on what colour the truck seat will be than how the engine will perform in its specific application.

Engines can be tuned by the OEMs for whatever application they’ll be performing within. So it stands to reason that there are big-time fuel savings being left on the table by fleets or owner/operators who take the default settings and deploy the truck into applications such as forestry or P&D, where the nature of the work is quite different than the mainstream linehaul segment most engines are set up for by default. Yves told me he suspects fuel savings of up to 15% will be discovered in some applications just by properly programming the engine. Cummins is on-board as a partner.

We’re not talking about altering fuel maps here or using aftermarket engine tuners, but programming that can be done by the OEM at the factory to ensure the engine performs to its full potential in whatever duty-cycle awaits it out in the field.

“The entire road transport sector will benefit from the PIT Group’s research on engine programming. In our opinion, a direct source of fuel savings is waiting in the wings behind engine programming, and a better understanding of engine programming will help all industries improve their energy performance,” said Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations, which operates PIT.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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