SuperTruck Project is Ready to Take Off

Some members of Cummins’ SuperTruck team stand next to the tractor before its trip to Texas for the start of critical testing in the fall of 2012. From left to right, Jon Dickson, Vehicle Applications Leader – Advanced Engineering; David Koberlein, SuperTruck Principal Investigator and Wayne Eckerle, Vice President – Research and Technology.

The future of trucking could well be unfolding this fall along U.S. Route 287 in north central Texas.

After months of testing concepts in trucks around the country, Cummins engineers and their colleagues in a public-private partnership will pull together the best of what they’ve learned and apply it to a single tractor-trailer.

With an aerodynamic exterior, an engine that captures waste heat and converts it to energy, and much more, their vision of the SuperTruck will officially hit the road.

“The opportunity to get out and see how all of these improvements work together is very exciting for everyone in the project,” said David Koeberlein, Cummins Principal Investigator for SuperTruck.

Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the SuperTruck program was created to develop the next generation of tractor-trailers – a more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly version of what’s on the road today.

There’s still plenty of research and development to do, but the test-runs to start in October 2012 between Fort Worth and Vernon, Texas are an important project milestone.

For Cummins, it means a chance to see not only how the waste heat recovery system works in concert with the rest of the vehicle but also combustion efficiency gains achieved by redesigning parts of the engine.

“The program is really an extension of the work we’ve been doing on fuel efficiency for a very long time now; it’s not something we just started on,” said Wayne Eckerle, Vice President – Research and Development for Cummins. “The SuperTruck program takes a comprehensive look at how to maximize the fuel economy of the tractor-trailer combination as a single unit.”

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The engine work is only part of the SuperTruck project that Cummins is leading. Peterbilt Motors Company, a division of PACCAR, is designing a tractor-trailer exterior with less drag.

Eaton and Dana are developing drivetrain improvements. Delphi is working on a fuel cell to reduce or eliminate the idling of trucks when drivers are asleep or resting. And those are just some of the companies involved in the effort.

“Working on a project like this is exciting because it’s about the entire vehicle. It’s not just the tractor. It’s not just the engine,” said Scott Newhouse, Assistant Chief Engineer of Product Development responsible for the SuperTruck Program at Peterbilt. “It’s the whole system working together, which is really exciting for us.”

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Energy officials initiated the multi-year program in 2010 with the goal of designing a heavy-duty Class 8 truck that achieves a 50 percent improvement in overall freight efficiency measured in ton-miles per gallon.

The DOE set the goal of attaining 40 percent of the overall efficiency gains from engine improvements with the remaining 60 percent coming from other vehicle systems such as aerodynamics, using lighter weight materials and reducing friction in the drive train.

The potential savings are significant. Class 8 trucks represent only about four percent of the on-road vehicles in the United States but are responsible for almost 20 percent of the country’s on-road fuel consumption.

Through the SuperTruck program, energy officials want to see fuel economy increase from about 6.5 miles-per-gallon to 9.75 miles-per-gallon. That would save about $15,000 in annual fuel costs per long-haul truck.

The total cost of the SuperTruck initiative is about $270 million including DOE grants and matching expenditures from the project participants.

Cummins is one of the four prime contractors leading SuperTruck teams. Daimler/Freightliner, Navistar and Volvo are also leading SuperTruck projects, developing their own visions of trucking’s future.

Cummins received a $39 million grant from the energy department in 2010. The Company expects to complete its work by April 2014.

Waste heat recovery

Cummins engineers have worked hard developing a waste heat recovery system for SuperTruck. The system is similar to how steam power plants operate. Here’s a quick look:

  1. First, the system extracts waste heat from the exhaust system via a pressurized refrigerant.
  2. Next, the pressurized, heated refrigerant expands across a small turbine on the engine, creating power.
  3. Finally, the power generated by the turbine goes back to the engine shaft, helping to push the vehicle forward and reducing the need for diesel fuel.

The SuperTruck team

Here’s a quick look at the Cummins partners working on the SuperTruck project:
Cummins engine-related partners:

  • Cummins business units: The Engine Business, Fuel Systems, Turbo Technologies, Emission Solutions, Electronics and Filtration are all participating in the project to develop an advanced efficient engine.
  • Modine Manufacturing Company and VanDyne Super Turbos Inc.: Supporting engine development and exploration efforts.
  • Oak Ridge National Lab and Purdue University: These institutions have structured research programs to support development efforts.

Peterbilt vehicle-related partners:

  • Peterbilt Motors Company: Advanced aerodynamics of tractor-trailer and vehicle weight reductions.
  • Eaton Corporation and Dana Holding Company: Working on drivetrain improvements.
  • Delphi Automotive: Developing idle management systems.
  • Bergstrom Inc.: Developing climate control system.
  • Modine Manufacturing Company: Supporting the vehicle cooling system and waste heat recovery integration.
  • Bridgestone Corporation and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.: Leading the tire development.
  • U.S. Xpress Enterprises: Helping with fleet operational questions and evaluations.

PROJECT PROGRESS

At about the half way point in the effort, Cummins officials say they are pleased with the progress so far.

“The Cummins SuperTruck program remains on schedule and our roadmaps seek to meet or exceed our targets,” Koeberlein said.

Cummins is committed to reaching a number of milestones, including a 20 percent improvement in Brake Thermal Efficiency -- a measure of the energy efficiency of the engine. The waste heat recovery system is expected to accomplish about 6 percent of that 20 percent gain.

The Cummins team expects to build on that by reducing friction, adding a highly efficient exhaust aftertreatment system and efficiency gains within the combustion cycle of the engine resulting in more power for the crankshaft without a corresponding increase in fuel consumption.

“The 20 percent fuel efficiency improvement is a very technically challenging target to reach,” Koeberlein said. “Waste heat recovery is a significant contribution towards this goal.”

The other members of the SuperTruck team are contributing to the two program milestones on vehicle freight efficiency. These goals are to be over a complete vehicle operating cycle and measured in gallons of fuel consumed per ton of goods moved per mile traveled.

Vehicle improvements to accomplish this might include a more aerodynamically efficient tractor and trailer, improved tire technology, an advanced axle and transmission system, idle management and more.

The final program commitment is to develop and demonstrated in a test cell Brake thermal Efficiency even about the 20 percent improvement.

WHAT’S AHEAD

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The route on U.S. 287, not far from Peterbilt’s headquarters in Denton, will allow the team to test SuperTruck over real-world conditions: elevation change, start-stop conditions and speed limit changes within city limits.

“Utilizing multiple new technologies on a single vehicle can create integration challenges,” said Peterbilt’s Newhouse. “Working as a team, we understand the trade-offs and resolve them to ensure everything operates the most efficiently as a system. Individual component testing and vehicle testing are being conducted to ensure performance objectives are met.”

While the technical hurdles are significant, Eckerle says it’s important that team members not lose sight of one other critical factor.

“Our biggest challenge is really getting the costs for any and all of the technologies and systems we’re working on down to where the fleets will want to buy them,” he said. “They need to be durable and reliable, of course, but in the end they must offer a way to reduce total cost of ownership in order for a customer to use them.”

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

Cummins Repower Blog: Overland Expo West

R2.8 Powered Vehicle

The following post was authored by Allison Janowski, Marketing Communications Specialist for Cummins Repower, who recently attended the Cummins booth at Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona.

This week, the Cummins Repower team headed to Overland Expo West 2018. We packed up our vehicles and started our engines and made the 1,700 mile journey from Columbus, Indiana to Flagstaff, Arizona. Our Cummins R2.8 Turbo Diesel repowered Jeep Wrangler TJ and Land Rover Discovery 1 made the trip with ease and arrived at the expo showgrounds Thursday afternoon. We were excited with the amount of Cummins powered Overlanding rigs that greeted us when we entered the expo for show set up. We were eager to set up our booth for the 3-day event, and our technical team was ready to answer any repower questions.

Our booth featured the Cummins R2.8 engine, kit contents and crate, as well as our TJ and Discovery, but the stars of the show were the customer built repowered vehicles scattered throughout the expo. We were excited to see that five other Cummins R2.8 builds made it to the show. After setting up our booth we walked the show to meet these builders and see their hard work.

The Clean Cruiser Project

First stop was the Clean Cruiser Project booth and their original mustard yellow colored BJ42 Toyota Land Cruiser. Their work in progress build caught your eye as you walked down the gravel path, but they had an even cooler story to tell. These guys are taking this BJ42 and another restored 1979 FJ40 to Columbia in 2019. They plan to make some amazing memories, but also reduce their carbon footprint to zero by planting 200 trees during their adventure. 

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Proffitt’s Resurrection Land Cruisers

We then made our way through the crowd surrounding Proffitt’s Resurrection Land Cruisers booth to see their 79 Toyota Land Cruiser. As one of our first beta builders, we love seeing this shiny SEMA vehicle that can tackle any trail, too. The Land Cruiser was ready to take on the Overlanding experience with a newly added rooftop tent and a bed full of all the necessities. Proffitt’s specializes in premier Toyota Land Cruiser restorations, and they all turn heads. 

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DELTA Vehicle Systems

Across the way from our booth was DELTA Vehicle Systems. DELTA Vehicle Systems brought their Toyota Land Cruiser FJ80. They were excited to debut their complete frame off 80 series R2.8 build with a new paint job and packed full of their products. They are building custom adaptor plates and completed, ready to bolt on vehicles accessories. 
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Overland Cruisers

Our friends from Overland Cruisers featured a built R2.8 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60 in their booth. This 60s series looked like it was yearning to hit the trails and start its maiden voyage as a newly repowered diesel Land Cruiser. Overland Cruisers is a full service Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota 4WD specialty shop, specializing in full restorations, engine conversions, repairs and so much more. They truly do have a passion for ‘cruisers.
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Axis Industries USA

We even had another jeep show up to the expo! Axis Industries showcased their R2.8 converted Jeep TJ Brute Pickup. This Jeep was built from the frame up by Axis and set on 37 inch tires. They have done numerous R2.8 engine conversions in various jeeps for their customers. Axis industries manufactures adapter kits for the R2.8, as well as other off-road products for vehicles.

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Overall, it was a great three days at Overland Expo West. It was exciting to see all of the Cummins powered vehicles, and so many R2.8 builds at the show. Check out what our Cummins Repower Technical Lead, Brittany, did with our Discovery show vehicle in our West Road Trip Blog. We’re looking forward to our other Repower shows this year, including SEMA in October, Overland Expo East in November, and PRI in December.
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins Repower Blog: Overland Expo West Road Trip

R2.8 Outside of Cummins Engine Plant

The following post was authored by Brittany Borella, the Technical Leader for the Cummins Repower Program, who recently went on a multi-day road trip in the R2.8-powered Land Rover Discovery 1. 

My road trip started on a sunny day outside Plant 1 in Columbus, Indiana - the location of Cummins’ Headquarters.

I packed up all my stuff for my first camping adventure since I was a kid, and headed west. At 5640 lbs fully loaded and with the aerodynamics of a small tool shed, the R2.8 powered Landrover Discovery 1 was easily able to cruise at 70 mph across the country, and get 17 mpg while doing it.  

R2.8

The first stop was Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, AZ - The Disco and I were to work the Cummins booth. Overland Expo is always a great show and we were able to speak to a lot of existing or potentially new Cummins Repower R2.8 owners, but by Sunday, I was ready to hit the road. 

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I headed north out of Flagstaff to cross the Utah state line before nightfall, and camped for the night in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. 

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If you’ve never been to the sand dunes, I recommend a visit longer than mine – and be sure to bring your 4-wheeler or side-by-side. 
 

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My stay at the Dunes was short, and I was off to Zion National Park for two days of hiking and camping. I drove through the East Entrance in order to catch a glimpse of the “entire” park and spent the rest of the day down in the Canyon. While the Canyon is the busiest section of the park, it still provides some amazing views, and you can see why Zion is the 3rd most visited National Park in the Country (beat out only by the Great Smokey Mountains and Grand Canyon).

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The next day I decided to avoid the crowds and spend some time on the Kolob Terrace, which is accessed via a 20-mile scenic drive up into the higher elevations of the park. My hike led me to an amazing 360° vista, where you can start seeing the vastness of the park below you. Notes for next time – stay at the Lava Point Camp ground (another hidden gem at the top of Kolob Terrace), and plan on hiking (wading?) the Narrows.

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My trip continued across the deserts of Nevada, where I encountered a group of Defenders also on a trip post-Expo. We chatted while stopped at the Alien Diner on the Extraterrestrial Highway, but then parted ways as I continued into the mountains and they set off to explore the desert floor. 

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Camp was set up overlooking a mountain lake at 8000 ft elevation, which made for a chilly nights sleep but some amazing views in the morning. Breakfast and coffee, and it was time to hit the road.

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The camping spot at June Lake sat just outside the east entrance of Yosemite National Park, so that’s where I headed. Climbing the grades into the park again allowed access to some of the lesser trafficked hiking trails.

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I took a break from driving to hike up to Dog Lake and then the top of Lambert Dome. It was a fairly strenuous hike when combining the elevation with the steep grade, but the views were well worth the sweat and sunburn (the sun is much stronger at 10,000 ft!)

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After a small snafu with a snap ring in the shifter required a complete disassembly of the center console (which seems to be something I have to do on every cross country trip, regardless of vehicle or issue) the mountains were behind me and I was headed towards the coast. I stopped outside of San Francisco to visit my sister where she took me on a rainy hike through the redwoods. Soaked feet and tired bodies brought us back to the main house for a warm fire and a home cooked meal. 
 

trees in the forest

The clouds broke the day of my departure, which allowed for a pleasant drive down the coast to meet up with Fred. I distracted him from Ultimate Adventure prep long enough to put the Landrover’s center console back together and take it (and the doggos) to Pismo beach for Memorial Day.

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As I sit at the airport awaiting my flight back home to Indiana, I’m happy to be out of the driver’s seat but grateful for all the adventures I was able to go on over the last 2 weeks. I accumulated over 3000 miles on the odometer, countless hours of validation on updates to the R2.8 calibration (look for an announcement later this summer), and memories to last a lifetime. This trip makes me even more excited looking ahead to Cummins Cruise 2018!

Fuel Economy Summary:
Indiana to Flagstaff : 17 mpg
Flagstaff to Zion: 19.6 mpg
Zion to Yosemite: 18.7 mpg
Yosemite to Pismo Beach: 20 mpg

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Brittany Borella

Brittany Borella is the Technical Leader for the Cummins Repower Program. She has worked at Cummins for 6 years, spending the last 4 as a Vehicle Integration Engineer for the Pickup and Enthusiast Market. In January 2018 she transitioned to officially lead the engineering work for the Crate Engine Program, focusing on the R2.8 as well as future products. In her current role, she oversees hardware changes, compatible components, Calibration improvements, and software updates. She also works directly with builders and end customers to ensure they have successful installs and a satisfactory experience with the Cummins Repower program. 

Top RV Maintenance Tips from Cummins for Travel Season

rv driving on open desert road

Spring’s longer daylight hours and warmer weather call RV owners out to the open road. But before you succumb to the urge to start up the diesel engine and roll out on the highway, proper spring RV maintenance will ensure a smoother ride all season long.

“Walk around the coach just like you would your house in the spring,” Chris Crowel, Cummins RV Market Leader, says. “The best way to see if your home needs maintenance is to get out and look at it. Do the same type of inspection of your coach to see how it faired through the winter weather.”

Here are 5 tips to prepare your RV for travel season:

1. Get out and inspect everything.

Look for any broken seals or cracks on the exterior of the coach that need to be repaired. Lift the engine cover, open up the basement and inspect every compartment. Keep an eye out for:

  • Insect and bug nests that may disrupt air flow
  • Plugged crankcase breather tube from ice or debris
  • Cracks or bent blades on cooling fan
  • Check the condition of your belts and hoses

2. Top off coolant.

At a cool temperature, top off with coolant that meets Cummins Engineering Standard: CES14603 for optimal performance. Note: never open a hot coolant reservoir – since the main role of coolant is to absorb heat from the engine, it can get very hot.  Periodically check coolant levels and concentration to ensure your RV engine is appropriately protected by the coolant – preventing corrosion, aeration, scaling, and other issues that can cause harm to your engine.  Consult your Owner’s Manual for additional details.

3 - Proper oil level on dipstick.

If you did not change your oil before the winter, we recommend draining and changing your oil fluid before you hit the road or a long trip. For a Cummins engine, we recommend a CJ-4 (CES20081) oil such as Valvoline Premium Blue.  Oil is used to lubricate, cool components,  cleans the system, inhibit corrosion, and improve sealing.  When in storage, oil can pick up moisture from condensation and additive packages in the oil can drop out.  Both miles and time cause oil to deteriorate over time.

4 - Drain water out of the fuel water separator.

Most coaches have a Water in Fuel (WIF) sensor and lamp indicator to detect the presence of water in the fuel. Water can result in inadequate lubrication of fuel system components like pumps and injectors which could result in expensive repairs.  With the engine off, drain the fuel-water separator to ensure the diesel fuel is free of water.

5 - Follow engine maintenance recommendations.

Ideally, diesel engine maintenance and oil changes occurs prior to long-term winter storage. However, if that did not take place in the fall, spring marks the time to ensure proper engine maintenance. Even if your coach has not traveled hit the mileage noted in the operating manual, we still recommend the following maintenance intervals for engine:

  • Engines 450 HP and below (ISB6.7 and ISL9) - once per year
  • Engines 500 HP and above (ISX12 and ISX15) - every 6 months.

Additional Resources

For more maintenance information before you hit the road this spring, refer to your Cummins Owner’s Manual or go to https://quickserve.cummins.com.

For customers that prefer expert maintenance done by Cummins professionals, stop by one of our 45 Coach Care facilities or 150 other distributor locations.  Be sure to ask about the Cummins Power Club which offers valuable information and discounts on parts and service for motorhome customers (www.cumminspowerclub.com).

Michael Nagel

Michael Nagel is Digital Brand Reputation Manager for Cummins Inc. He has more than 10 years of digital communications and traditional public relations experience, with a focus on social media marketing. Prior to joining Cummins, Michael was a legal marketer for the largest law firm in the state of Indiana. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Michael earned his B.A. at the Indiana University School of Journalism - Indianapolis. He currently resides in Indianapolis.

Cummins Repower Blog: Easter Jeep Safari Moab Day 2

Day two out in Moab for Easter Jeep Safari led us to Kane’s Creek trail with Ian Johnson from Digital Lug. Ian graciously let our misfit band of R2.8 powered vehicles crash his planned ride and even let us lead the way! On the ride we had Fred Williams (of Dirt Every Day) in Tubesock, Christian Hazel and Verne Simons (of 4-Wheel and Off-Road Magazine) in the UACJ6, Dirthead Dave Chappelle in Diesel Power Products Stretched off-road 8-speed JK, and Bruiser Conversion’s 4-door, 4-wheel steering off-road JK.  The Cummins Black TJ and Landrover Discovery picked up the rear of the group.

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Kane’s Creek is a scenic trail that winds along the riverbed, riddled with river crossings and the occasional rock obstacle. The R2.8 powered vehicles drove flawlessly through anything put in front of them, from water to sand to rock. A ride like this really lets us see how our customers use their vehicles and why they made the build choices that they did. Axis’s seamless integration of the ZF 8-speed into the Diesel Power Products vehicle meant that the transmission could always choose an optimal gear to efficiently and effectively use the power and torque of the R2.8. Bruiser’s JK was equally well integrated, turning diesel power, fuel economy, and reliability into a fun and capable rig for any trail. 

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The end of the trail is a technical climb up out of the Canyon with a series of shear rock faces and complicated lines. The UACJ6 and JK’s of the group with bigger tires had no problem using that turbo diesel torque to crawl up. Even the Cummins Jeep TJ made it up without incident, slowly climbing its way to the top.

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The Landrover once again proved that this is Easter JEEP Safari, and clipped a rock on one of the last obstacles at the top of the canyon climb. This allowed us to implement our second bush fix of the trip – cover it with stickers. 

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The night ended at the Daystar party up at Sunset Grill, which I’m sure has a million dollar view as the sun goes down over the western horizon. Unfortunately we were there after dark, but it still awarded us a beautiful view of the lights down in the city. Day 2 was in the books and we’re gearing up for Day 3!
 

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Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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