Pickuptrucks.com reports that you may not have to wait for Mahindra to work through its legal issues to get an efficient diesel-powered pickup, as the DOE has funded development of a four-cylinder Cummins diesel engine which is being demonstrated in a Nissan Titan. According to the report
Cummins refers to the engine by the codename “LA-4” with a 2.8-liter displacement (170 cubic inches). Initial power figures on the engine dyno have the mule test engine producing 350 pounds-feet of torque at around 1,800 rpm. A chart in the presentation shows targeted power levels to be approximately 220 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet.
The engine is likely a derivative of the four-cylinder ISF architecture that Cummins builds overseas, with 2.8-liter and 3.8-liter displacements. The overseas 3.8-liter is rated at 168 horsepower and 443 pounds-feet of torque…
To meet U.S. clean-diesel standards, the 2.8 would use diesel exhaust fluid to scrub nitrogen oxide emissions, like Ford and GM use today in their heavy-duty diesel pickups. It would also feature a so-called passive NOx storage system that would capture and hold NOx during cold starts, releasing the gas when temperatures rise to levels of max efficiency for DEF. The passive system would save fuel used today to jumpstart NOx scrubbing when the system is cold.
The upshot? 28 MPG combined, according to pickuptrucks.com. Given the discrepancy between EPA fuel economy numbers and the CAFE method, that means this engine could make a Titan (which gets 13/18 MPG EPA with its stock V8) more than compliant with the 2015 30 MPG truck standard. And because the DOE spent only $15m, this probably qualifies as one of the more promising government fuel-economy improvement programs in some time. After all, improving truck efficiency is one of the toughest aspects of CAFE compliance… and if a Titan can get nearly 30 MPG combined (about the same as current four-cylinder family sedans), the government’s $15m just bought it a crushing blow to the industry’s anti-CAFE carping.