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Cummins showed off its new Columbus-built, 5-liter V8 engine Friday. The light-duty diesel engine will power commercial vehicles starting in about a year.
The Columbus-based engine maker used a mock race around traffic cones to demonstrate its product to the national press. An orange school bus, white box truck, gray recreational vehicle and white sport truck repeatedly ran around a 2-mile track at Columbus Municipal Airport, giving automotive reporters a chance to observe and drive them.
The demonstration was set up to generate interest among vehicle manufacturers and end users, including truck and bus drivers, who might read about the engines and vehicles in the media.
While automotive reporters lined up near a small, red Cummins tent to take a turn behind the wheels of the vehicles, Cummins employees — including the engine’s lead engineer, Jim Katzenmeyer — answered questions about the vehicles’ performance and technology.
After their laps around the track, some writers took a look under the vehicles’ hoods and snapped photos of the engine.
Katzenmeyer said the writers made lots of positive comments on the ISV 5.0 engine’s performance, including its low noise and drivability.
Paul N. Ableson, senior technical editor of Land Line Magazine, came from Lisle, Ill., to Columbus to meet friends in the industry and test-drive the vehicles. He will be writing about the engine’s technical aspects, especially from an operator’s perspective.
“The engine is what they’ve promised,” he said. “It’s smooth. It’s quiet. It’s powerful.”
Cummins unveiled the light-duty diesel in mid-August at its Columbus Engine Plant, where the engine will be made.
Initially conceived for the smallest of the Ram trucks, the project was put on hold when Ram’s parent, Chrysler, filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Nissan will serve as the new anchor partner. But the engine, in slightly different configurations, also will power commercial vehicles, including delivery trucks and school buses like the ones displayed Friday.
Production of the engine is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2014, and Cummins said it will hire up to 500 new employees over the next few years as production ramps up.
Cummins employees Friday touted the engine’s technology, saying its lighter-but-stronger materials and advanced fuel system will allow operators to have a better driving experience while saving money on fuel.
While older engine blocks are made of cast iron, the Cummins V8’s block is made of compacted graphite iron, which is lighter and stronger, giving vehicles a better power-to-weight ratio, which means better fuel economy and drivability, said Mike Taylor, director of Cummins’ global pickup and light commercial vehicle development, marketing and customer engineering.
Katzenmeyer said that the high-pressure piezo fuel injectors will allow up to seven injections per combustion cycle, compared to six or fewer on older models. More injections give engineers more precise control over when the fuel is injected into the combustion chamber, which means that the amount of fuel that is injected can better be tailored to how much fuel is needed. And more precise control, Katzenmeyer said, means better optimization of fuel consumption and
That injection system also allows the engine to use a smaller quantity of fuel while idling or in the startup phase, which reduces noise.
Taylor said that for drivers who sit in delivery trucks for eight hours per day, noise reduction really helps improve their work environment. And ample available power gives them confidence that they can easily merge into traffic safely.
Together with the fuel system, Katzenmeyer said, ceramic glow plugs that stick into the cylinder and heat the area around the injector allow the engine to start up within two seconds even at temperatures of 25 degrees below zero. On older models, the startup sometimes takes 25 to
30 seconds. Faster startup is helpful in various applications, including for school buses in winter.
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