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    Hexagon Agility Receives Orders For Class 8 Series Trucks Piloting The New Cummins X15N CNG/RNG Engine

    Cummins engines at its Jamestown Engine Plant. (Image Courtesy Of Cummins)

    Cummins announced it will launch its most efficient diesel engine ever for the heavy-duty on-highway market. As the next product in the Cummins HELM 15-liter fuel agnostic platform, the diesel X15 will be compliant with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2027 aligned regulations at launch.

    The engine will feature improved greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency benefits while retaining the same ratings of the current X15 (up to 605 hp and 2050 ft.-lb. of torque) and optimizing powertrain integration with Eaton Cummins and Cummins-Meritor.

    “Today, we re-introduce our fuel agnostic engine platforms with a name that captures the innovation that powers us forward: the Cummins HELM platforms,” said Jane Beaman, vice president global of on-highway business at Cummins. “With higher efficiency, lower emissions, and multiple fuels, the Cummins HELM platforms give our customers control of how they navigate their own journeys as part of the energy transition. They can choose the fuel types that work best for them, their businesses, and their goals,” she said.

    This engine is designed to have the capability to meet future emissions regulations beyond 2027 without the need for significant architecture changes. Cummins will continue to fund future research and development in hydrogen and alternative fuel engines, battery electric, and fuel cell powertrains.

    “This new architecture expands on the legacy of the X15 engine,” said Jonathon White, vice president of engine business engineering at Cummins. “All teams involved recognize how important this product is and what it means for both Cummins and our customers’ future as the base architecture will carry us through the horizon of diesel technology and alternate fuels.”

    The X15 was developed with Cummins’ fully integrated powertrain in mind. The X15 architecture uses a belt-driven, high-output, 48-volt alternator and aftertreatment heater solution, optimized for increasingly stringent emissions standards.

    The engine is built on Cummins’ HELM fuel agnostic 15-liter engine platform. These new fuel agnostic engine platforms feature a series of engine versions that are derived from a common base engine, meaning they have some parts commonality. Below the head gasket of each engine will have similar components and above the head gasket will have different components for different fuel types. Each engine version will operate using a different, single fuel. The X15N, the natural gas variant, is the first engine on the Cummins HELM platforms available to customers. The Cummins HELM platforms include the B, X10, and X15 engine platforms.

    Aligned with Cummins diesel engine portfolio, the new X15 is capable of using biodiesel blends up to 20% and renewable diesel blends up to 100%. Cummins was an early adopter of renewable fuels and continues to advance use of higher biodiesel blends and renewable diesel. These low-carbon diesel fuels have been proven to reduce carbon intensity of diesel fuel consumption and are readily available in today’s fueling infrastructure.

    Cummins X15N Engine With Powertrain (Image Courtesy Of Cummins)

    The Market Responds

    Hexagon Agility (Hexagon), a provider of renewable natural gas (RNG) fuel systems, confirmed new orders for compressed natural gas (CNG) and RNG fuel system installations on pilot trucks powered by Cummins’ new X15N natural gas engine developed for the North American commercial truck market. Hexagon said the orders are destined for major fleets and cover two leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The orders come in addition to existing pilots that are already on the road with Hexagon Agility fuels systems.

    Order Books Are Now Open

    As of February, Kenworth Truck Company, one of the top three truck OEMs in North America, is the first to open its order books for trucks powered by the Cummins X15N engine.

    Kenworth and Cummins have stated that trucks equipped with the X15N engine will be in serial production by mid-2024 with initial deliveries expected early in Q3.

    “The launch of the Cummins X15N, 15-liter engine will triple the addressable market for heavy-duty natural gas trucks over the next few years,” says Eric Bippus, executive vice president of sales and systems at Hexagon. “This is a game-changer for our niche industry, enabling a powerhouse solution for Class 8 fleets traveling locally and cross country. The 15-liter delivers enhanced fuel efficiency and maximum uptime.”

    The X15N natural gas engine by Cummins is powered by RNG/CNG and is designed to deliver a range of long-haul applications like diesel — while significantly reducing emissions. With power ratings up to 500 hp (370 kW) and torque up to 1850 lb.-ft. (2500 Nm), the engine allows natural gas to go head-to-head with diesel in the heavy-duty sector.

    Hexagon Agility Expands Capacity

    Hexagon Agility expects demand for the new engine will ramp-up gradually during 2024 and the company’s addressable market for natural gas long-haul trucks will increase at pace with the segment when this new engine is widely available.

    Hexagon Agility’s current capacity expansion program will substantially increase cylinder volumes for heavy-duty truck applications. Production start for the new line is set for Q1 2025, to coincide with the increased market demand.

    Opportunities For Natural Gas In The North American Heavy-Duty Truck Market

    According to ACT Research, approximately 330,000 heavy duty trucks are sold annually in the North American market.

    Of these, 100,000 trucks make up the addressable market for RNG solutions currently. Hexagon said that the 9- and 12-liter natural gas engines on the market are a good match for the usage patterns of these trucks — vocational and day cab regional haul applications, mainly. This is supported by a strong RNG/CNG filling station network of more than 500 stations across all key transport corridors in North America.

    The introduction of the Cummins X15 will unlock the long-haul market segment for RNG/CNG that requires high-horsepower applications and can demand a range of up to 1300 miles (2092 km) while matching the capabilities of diesel. This adds 230,000 heavy duty trucks to the addressable RNG/CNG market annually.