Cummins pausing plans for 15L NatGas engine as NatGas truck orders rise

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An increasing number of fleet placed orders for natural gas-fueled trucks in 2013, but not at a high enough pace for Cummins.

Goaded by emissions concerns, low cost natural gas and technological maturity, 41 orders were made for LNG-fueled trucks and buses from 38 fleets last year, according to a Zeus Development Corporation survey. However, citing “market timing uncertainty,” Cummins says it will “pause” development of the ISX 15 G natural gas engine.

“While we believe natural gas power will continue to grow in the North American truck market, the timing of the adoption of natural gas in long haul fleets preferring 15 liter engines is uncertain,” Christy House, On-highway Marketing Communications Director for Cummins, says.

In less than four months, both Westport and Cummins have ceased either development or sales of a 15 liter natural gas engine. 

RELATED: Westport halting orders for 15L NatGas engine 

The largest global truck order came from Beijing Public Transit for 3,100 LNG-fueled buses. The largest U.S. order came from package delivery juggernaut UPS, which ordered 700 units.

“LNG is growing in attraction to truck and bus fleets worldwide,” says Zeus Development Corporation LNG fuel analyst Siyu Chen. “Orders were placed last year in Canada, China, France, Poland, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.”

Stateside, the number of truck orders will be directly influenced by infrastructure and related technologies, which House says needs more time to mature in order to support the ISX 15 G. 

“We believe the adoption of natural gas in long haul fleets will be paced by a variety of factors beyond the engine and include fuel tank technology and public fueling infrastructure,” House says, adding Cummins will re-evaluate market demand for the ISX 15 G later this year.

The 41 truck orders recorded include representation of both heavy duty tractors and buses. North America (18) leads Asia (15) in number of combined orders. Asia dominates in units with 4,750 ordered.