There is clear progress being made with the continued testing of a small and powerful light-duty Cummins engine in a half-ton pickup truck. We've been following this story for several years now, and our most recent update comes via a recently discovered report on the internet.
The project was started to determine the feasibility and value of an efficient, light-duty diesel in the half-ton pickup truck segment. The guinea pig pickup for the project, called Atlas, is a 2010 Nissan Titan. We've been told by Department of Energy officials and Nissan representatives that no official announcement about the partnering of the two brands for an upcoming truck has occurred; nonetheless, the Atlas Project has made great progress.
According to this report, the schedule is pretty well set for the new light-duty Cummins to meet the aggressive U.S. Tier 2 Bin 2 emissions standards. From the looks of it (this test model was mated to a ZF eight-speed transmission - the one also on 2013 Ram 1500s), it won't have any problems meeting the half-ton-truck holy grail fuel economy number of 30 mpg highway. Numbers from this DOE report have the engine ratings at 210 horsepower and 385 pounds-feet of torque with a combined fuel economy rating (DOE testing) of 26.1 mpg.
From the timeline, it looks like the next demonstration of the Cummins engine will be this summer with a T2B5-compliant (meaning less clean than T2B2) dyno test, then a T2B5 test inside the Titan for extensive driving feedback and a final T2B2 test in the Titan in late summer 2014, right around the time the we should be seeing the redesigned 2015 Nissan Titan.
Coincidence? We think not. Additionally, we fully expect the new Cummins engine to make its way into full-size NV vans as well, which will be due for a remodel right around the same time. We'll have more about this new Cummins in the future.