Street Smarts: Cummins’ new X10 fuel-agnostic engine

27 April 2023

What with the pandemic and whatnot, it had been a long time since I’d visited Cummins headquarters in Columbus, Ind. And I was overdue. Because Cummins is a company in the midst of a massive transformation.

The company’s historical focus on diesel engines is morphing into something more futuristic, with a host of new, battery-electric and zero-emissions powertrains underdevelopment and a recently completed acquisition of Meritor to work out.

The X10, the first of Cummins’ fuel-agnostic engines. (Photo: Cummins)

Cummins is interesting because with all the hype surrounding battery-electric trucks, hydrogen fuel cell technology and various zero- and near-zero-emission fuels, the company has steadfastly defended diesel and remained adamant that cleaner, more environmentally friendly versions of diesel will remain an important means for powering transportation for many years to come. And that, Cummins made clear, that will include more fuel efficient, smaller-displacement diesel engines, as well.

Many fuels

Cummins has now made good on that pledge with the launch of the new X10 fuel-agnostic engine. Positioned to replace both the L9 and X12 engines in both medium- and heavy-duty applications, the X10 will also be compliant with the U.S. EPA’s 2027 regulations a full year early. And importantly, this is an engine that has been designed from the ground up to run on a variety of fuels once it reaches full maturity. The lower portion of the engine will remain consistent.

But different, specially configured upper portions – the head of the engine – will allow the same base 10 L platform to run on diesel, hydrogen, natural gas, propane and other fuels. The plan is for Cummins to offer a full portfolio of products in 2026 to cover the medium- and heavy-duty customer’s needs, including the new 15 L natural gas engine, the X15N. Additionally, the B6.7 will be offered in diesel, natural gas, gasoline and propane.

Cummins has released the diesel version of the X10 first. The engine will slot into Cummins’ product portfolio complemented by the B6.7 and X15 engines in vocational, transit, pickup and delivery and regional haul applications.

Committed to diesel

José Samperio, executive director, North America On-Highway, Cummins, said the company remains committed to advancing the diesel technology its markets and customers need it to run their businesses. “The new X10 has been designed drawing on our decades of experience as a leader in the medium and heavy-duty space,” he added. “We have applied those learnings to ensure the product will perform for our customers and the important jobs they need to do every time.”

Samperio also noted the new X10 diesel will emit 75% less NOx emissions than required at launch in 2026. It will also be compliant to the U.S. EPA’s 2027 regulations while providing a step change in fuel economy improvement. The X10 architecture uses a belt-driven, high-output 48 V alternator and aftertreatment heater system optimized for increasingly stringent emission standards and will be scalable to other advanced combustion technologies. For further reductions in carbon emissions, customers may choose to use B20 or renewable diesel.

Jack Roberts is a Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based independent journalist and licensed commercial driver with more than 20 years’ experience covering the North American and global trucking industries.

The engine can be paired with a variety of transmissions depending on the application including the Eaton Cummins Endurant to enable additional drivability benefits and efficiency gains.

Fuel efficiency

The X10 aims to be exceptionally efficient from idle to full power, which is critical for transient applications. Its extended maintenance intervals can help reduce visits to the shop. The engine is equipped with Acumen, a telematics system which provides digital connectivity and direct, immediate access to a range of applications and capabilities. These capabilities provide value throughout the lifecycle of the engine and include over-the-air calibration, predictive service recommendations and additional features that help fleets keep their trucks and equipment on the road.

Samperio said the new X10 engine will first be available in Europe and North America, although it will be introduced in other regions over time and will eventually be engineered for off-highway markets as well.

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