At this year’s Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, the California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership (CNGVP) collaborated with Cummins Inc. to host a media event showcasing the Cummins X15N 15-liter natural gas engine in a Class 8 truck chassis for the first time in North America. During the media event, Cummins shared insight into its plans to bring the X15N engine to market, including announcing that the company had begun field testing the engine with key fleet partners.
Cummins anticipates that starting in 2024, fleets will have the opportunity to order factory-built Class 8 trucks with the Cummins X15N 15-liter engine as PACCAR has announced availability in both the Kenworth and Peterbilt brands. Designed as an economic and environmental sustainability solution for heavy-duty transport, the Cummins X15N engine will enable fleets to achieve powerful performance with a range of at least 750 miles even when hauling 82,000-pound loads over challenging terrains.
“With mounting environmental regulations and a focus on making progress towards corporate sustainability goals, fleet owners are making critical decisions about the future makeup of their fleet,” said Tom Swenson, manager-global regulatory affairs, Cummins Inc. and CNGVP president. “Class 8 trucks featuring the X15N engine are an attractive fleet sustainability option, as they offer fleets the closest direct replacement for diesel trucks in terms of operational performance. With the growing supply of carbon-negative renewable natural gas in California and the reintroduction of the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit, fleets have an incredible opportunity to reduce both their environmental impact and overall operating costs.”
During CNGVP’s 2023 ACT Expo press conference, Cummins shared that it would be delivering 25 Class 8 trucks upfit with the X15N engine for fleet field tests. Through September 2023, the X15N engine technology will be demonstrated across a variety of applications, terrains and locations throughout the United States, providing Cummins with valuable real-world operating data that will be used to validate its commercial production plans. California fleets taking part in the field tests include National Ready Mixed Concrete Company, Werner Enterprises, Walmart, Matheson, Food Express, and Sandman.
Biomethane consumed by vehicles in California had an energy weighted average carbon intensity of -87.74 gCO2e/MJ for calendar year 2022, according to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program data reported on April 28, 2023. During 2022, renewable natural gas made up approximately 98% of all natural gas used for transportation fuel in California for the second year in a row.
Beyond reducing emissions, fleet operators can save money on fuel costs by using natural gas, which supported a clear cost advantage over diesel throughout 2022. On average, the pump price for natural gas in 2022 was $2.73 per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE), while diesel fuel averaged well over $5/gallon according to the United States Department of Energy.
Fleets with onsite natural gas fueling infrastructure and well-negotiated fueling contracts report biomethane prices as low as $1.00 per DGE. Several federal tax credits are available to help fleets benefit from utilizing natural gas fuel, including the recently reauthorized Alternative Fuel Tax Credit of $0.50 per gallon passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022. Under the IRA, a Clean Fuel Production Credit of ~ $1.00 per gallon was also created to reduce the cost of producing natural gas for fleets.