Back in September, the US Department of Energy, in conjunction with Nissan Motor Co, green lighted a proposal to test a Cummins four-cylinder turbo-diesel in the full-size Titan pickup.
The program was largely conceived to help big trucks like the Titan achieve better fuel economy, in lieu of the 35.5 miles per gallon CAFE requirements (that now also include light trucks), scheduled to be phased in in 2015.
The test engine, a 2.8-liter unit cranks out 350 lb/ft of torque at 1800 rpm making it comparable with the Titan’s existing 5.6-liter V-8. However substantial gains in fuel economy have already been achieved, the diesel is said to currently allow a 2WD Titan to achieve around 28 miles per gallon, a sizeable improvement on the V-8 truck’s 13/18 mpg (city/highway).
Cummins says this new diesel can be built in either 2.8 and 3.5-liter forms and thanks to the use of high strength steel pistons, is not only a sturdy engine but also rather compact by diesel standards, not that compactness is of real concern when installing one in a Titan.
The test program is scheduled to run through September this year and it will be interesting to see what further results develop when it comes to capability and fuel economy. However, regulators are now proposing even tougher fuel economy standards for 2025, as much as 62 mpg. With such shifting targets, in such a short period time, the ability of any pickup truck manufacturer to meet them is going to prove challenging at best.
[Source: Automotive News]