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Making a mightier MaxxForce: Navistar confirms plans to develop its own 15 L truck engine to meet EPA 2010; will rely on enhanced EGR.


Confirming earlier unsubstantiated reports, Navistar officials told a meeting of financial analysts it would have a 15 L MaxxForce engine for its trucks that would meet the upcoming EPA 2010 emissions standards. The new engine, which the company said would be officially announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, would maintain Navistar's position of using cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) as its primary emissions reduction technology.

Virtually all other truck and engine suppliers in North America have embraced selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet the tougher EPA 2010 regulations. That includes Cummins, which has been Navistar's primary supplier of 15 L engines.

Cummins had originally announced in 2007 that it would use an enhanced EGR technology to meet the 2010 emissions targets. Then in 2008, based on results it saw when testing its copper zeolite SCR technology for midrange use, Cummins did an about face and adopted SCR as its path to 2010 compliance. That put it at logger-heads with Navistar, one of its most significant truck customers, which was adamant about avoiding SCR.

While the two companies talked frequently over the ensuing months, it was clear that Cummins wasn't about to change its mind again or be willing or able to supply EGR engines in addition to its SCR diesels. At the same time, Navistar--which has engaged on a vigorous campaign to convince the trucking industry that SCR would ultimately be a "marooned technology," in the words of Truck Group President Dee Kapur--wasn't about to back down from its aggressive no-SCR posture.

This latest move appears to cut that Gordian knot and leave Navistar as the lone manufacturer to offer EGR-only engines for on-highway going forward.

"We're committed to the advanced EGR strategy," Engine Group President Jack Allen told financial analysts gathered at the company's Melrose Park, Ill., engine facility. "And as a result of our largest 15 L supplier's decision to change paths to SCR, what we're going to do is pull forward into the next year the introduction of our own advanced 15 L EGR engine."


Allen declined to provide specifics about the engine, which will reportedly offer ratings up to 550 hp. But he said, "Suffice it to say, this product will be consistent with our strategy of platform scale, of leveraging the assets that we have, the assets that our partners have, and we are going to bring forward a world-class engine to the market in a very short period of time."

One of Navistar's partners that seems likely to be involved in the 15 L development is Caterpillar, which formed an alliance with Navistar last June to jointly pursue global on-highway truck business opportunities and cooperate on a variety of engine platforms. The immediate goal was the development of a line of Cat-branded heavy-duty trucks for severe service applications, such as road construction, large infrastructure projects and oil and petroleum development.

At the same time, Cat announced that it was withdrawing from the truck engine business after more than four decades as a supplier to the Class 8 markets. But the alliance partners also said at the time that they would cooperate on both vehicle and engine development. And in all likelihood, the new 15 L engines will also be used in the new Caterpillar work trucks that are scheduled to debut in 2010.

Cooperation with Cat on a 15 L engine development would also follow Navistar's philosophy of working with other companies to generate economies of scale. For example, Navistar's 11 and 13 L MaxxForce engines were the result of a joint development program with Germany's MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, and the engines are based on MAN's established D20 engine platform. Working with Caterpillar on a 15 L product would continue that strategy.

And the result would allow Navistar to offer a stable of heavy-duty products that would essentially cover the spectrum of larger truck applications.

"Today, 54% of all the Class 8 vehicles that are sold have 15 L engines," Allen said. "We expect that that's going to change. There will be more of a migration to 13 L power to gain the advantage in a fuel economy and weight while still being able to get a high-horsepower vehicle.

"We are well-positioned with our MaxxForce 11 and 13. It achieves excellent fuel economy, is 800 lb. less than a competitive 15 L product and the horsepower goes all the way up to 475, so it covers a significant range of the areas where 15 L are predominant today.

"So we're prepared to serve the entire Class 8 market with 13 and 15 L proprietary MaxxForce engines. And we anticipate that if you take the combination of the 2009 transition engines, our own 13 L engine that is really just a minor evolution into 2010 and the ramp-up of our 15 L engine, we'll have the product to serve the market in 2010 and beyond without any product offering gaps. That's our plan."
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Author:Brezonick, Mike
Publication:Diesel Progress North American Edition
Date:Feb 1, 2009
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