With a name like Cummins powering your pickups, you do not need to add much in the way of marketing to prove its worth. Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Feb. 9, 2014 Last August, Nissan announced they would be installing an all-new 300 + hp and 500 lb-ft. of torque 5.0L Cummins V8 turbo diesel in its next-generation Titan full-size pickup. While massively overkill for a true maximum 10,000 lb. tow rating, the declaration certainly grabbed the attention of both competitors and enthusiasts alike. And in our realm, I was instantly imagining tall ratios, aerodynamic tweaks, and a highway fuel economy capability that should easily compare to the current generation Frontier’s 17/23 rating with its diminutive 2.5L I4 with the 5-speed AT. In addition, the Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel will be built at the Cummins Columbus Engine Plant, in Columbus, Ind., the company’s headquarters. The V8 program is planning to add to its 300 person workforce over the next several years and at maturity expects to employ approximately 800 workers. That is 500 new middle class jobs! Nissan is being dodgy with regards to an actual launch date as the Cummins engine has yet to be fully certified but I would expect to see final production prototypes by late 2014/early 2015 with dealership availability sometime in mid 2015 possibly? The all-new 2015 Titan’s powered by the 5.0L Cummins turbo diesel engine are currently undergoing on and off-road testing. What Nissan gains with a Cummins turbo diesel inside is instant respect. Few if anyone has ever heard of a Nissan turbo diesel although they do have them in other parts of the world. And even though they are reliable, cost effective, and somewhat fuel efficient, they do not have the instant name recognition or history that the Cummins brand brings to the table. When you see the proprietary emissions control technology being used, only Cummins with its integrated systems teams from upstream air and fuel, engine power production, and downstream emissions control is able to pull off what may possibly be the turbo diesel model of the future for all other manufacturers to follow. The Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Prototype and the all-new 2.8L I4 Cummins Turbo Diesel Just the other day we posted a story on how Cummins Provides the Power and Efficiency of Diesel for the Heavy Duty (HD) RAM pickup which included a detailed look into its rise from a garage in 1919 to S&P 100 U.S. Manufacturer status with name brand recognition recognized the world over today. Within I added the iconic engine manufacturers efforts in Light Duty (LD) pickup truck turbo diesel engine space highlighting both the 5.0L V8 destined for the Nissan Titan as described above and the Tier II/Bin2 rated 2.8L ATLAS DOE/Cummins collaborative turbo diesel program possibly destined for the just announced Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner LD compact pickup prototype. The Frontier Diesel Runner The Frontier Diesel Runner project truck is based on a Frontier Desert Runner 4x2 and a potential future direction for the Frontier in terms of a 2020 CAFÉ compliant pickup truck. Fred Diaz, Nissan’s Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, Parts & Service presented the truck to the automotive press with more than just a little fanfare. Within maybe 30 seconds of that statement, I uploaded the following to FB, Twitter, and Instagram expressing my own enthusiasm for the project pickup. Nissan went on to add that this is technical study project in no uncertain terms. With emissions and certification homologation still quarters away from completion, the 2.8L Cummins engine is currently just a prototype and only a possibility for the next-generation Frontier. Beneath the Frontier Diesel Runner’s pretty paint scheme is a Cummins designed and manufactured 200 hp and more than 350 lb-ft. of torque 2.8L I4 turbo diesel code named ATLAS. What is unique about ATLAS is that the Cummins/DOE Research turbo diesel engine has already exceeded current Tier II/Bin5 emissions specifications while maintaining a healthy power output, vastly improved fuel efficiency, and all at a much reduced weight. The ATLAS project engine was first postulated by Cummins back in 2006 but with the 08/09 financial crisis, plans were put on hold. Those plans were renewed with the DOE/Cummins engine 50/50 cost sharing program whose targets included increasing fuel efficiency in light trucks and SUVs by 40% which in turn would reduce US oil consumption by almost 10 percent or 1.5M bbl/day! This goal was not to be achieved with an underpowered and overly expensive one-off prototype like most high efficiency projects from the past but the 40% improvement in fuel efficiency was to be achieved while continuing to offer the same capabilities pickup and SUV buyers demand today. That is one very tall order. To do it, a Nissan Titan mule equipped with its standard aluminum constructed, gasoline fueled, 5.6L V8 and Tier II/Bin5 compliant emission control system was to be replaced with a smaller turbo diesel and an all-new emissions control system (ECS) without a weight or performance penalty. The downsized engine needed a very high power density and an almost radical emissions control design utilizing the latest off-the shelf and out of the lab technologies that would reduce the cold and steady state fuel economy hit that all turbo diesel emissions control systems incur today. Cummins 2.8L I4 ATLAS Turbo Diesel - Passive NOx Adsorber Performance This chart is an emissions engineers dream and it is here today. What I found most intriguing about the 2.8L ATLAS TD program is not just its Tier II/Bin2 emissions target (a cleaner emissions profile than a current PZEV based generation III 2014 Prius), it incorporates a very compact passive NOx Adsorber (PNA) which stores low temperature initial start NOx and releases it back into the exhaust stream when Exhaust Gas Temperatures (EGT) reaches > 200 degrees C. At that temperature and above, the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC), and a highly efficient Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) system reduces NOx almost to the point of being unmeasureable at the tail pipe! All of this plus a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) are all housed within an emissions control container no larger than the intake plenum itself. This is truly a remarkable breakthrough. Cost of the engine will be a closely guarded secret between Nissan and Cummins for well into the foreseeable future. NVH Although Cummins was not providing information on the types of injectors, Solenoid or Piezo-electric, it was understood that 8 injections per combustion event was available which in turn can provide higher combustion efficiency, reduced NVH, and lower emissions. In addition, Cummins knows that they cannot just install any engine meant for off-highway use into a modern day truck without isolation. To that end, I was told the mounts are both modern and robust and should achieve levels of refinement that will have competitors tearing down the combination as soon as they can get their own hands on one of their own. Cummins 2.8L I4 Turbo Diesel Look at the small size of the after treatment emissions control package! Add a heated DEF tank and metering pump and it is ready to go. An 8-speed ZF Transmission The Nissan Frontier with the 2.8L I4 Cummins Turbo Diesel is mated to a highly efficient ZF 8HP70 8-speed automatic transmission. I am sure you are thinking this is a standard slush box with all of the torque converter and internal gear set losses we have been accustomed to for decades. While still not as efficient as a manual in the right hands, it is more fuel efficient for most regardless of their driving habits. In 2009, ZF released a completely new 8-speed automatic that uses just four gear sets and five shift elements resulting in vastly lower drag and pumping losses and higher gear mesh efficiency. In addition, shift times have reduced to just 200 milliseconds and non-sequential shifting was also added. According to ZF, the 5 shift elements - multi-disc clutches and brakes in the heart of the transmission – have only 2 open in any single gear. The fewer open shift elements there are, the fewer transmission parts there are rotating relative to one another. The gear mesh efficiency was improved as well. While some energy is lost when power is transmitted through gear wheels, the new 8-speed is said to lose less than 2 percent. With the standard Frontier PRO-4X 265/75-16 tires, the ZF transmissions 0.667 8th gear ratio, and the Cummins/Nissan designated 3.13 final, the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner turns over at a reduced 1,324 RPM@60 mph or 1,350 RPM@60 mph in actual use. This alone should result in an easy 32 to 35 mpgUS highway rating if it were to become available in a 4x2 Frontier of the future. We have driven thousands of miles in a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee equipped with a 3.0L Fiat’s 3.0L EcoDiesel mated to this exact transmission with what I would deem spectacular results. Shell and a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Star in the #TracktoTrack Challenge Along with the fuel economy increase, payload and towing capacity are expected to be approximately equivalent to that of the current 3.5L V6 powered Frontier. Exterior/Interior Design While far less exciting than the Cummins turbo diesel powerplant, the Frontier Diesel Runner was designed by Nissan Design America in San Diego, CA in conjunction with Nissan Global Design Center in Atsugi, Japan. Exterior mods include a custom paint treatment and carbon fiber accents. A carbon film-coated chin spoiler, mesh grille, roof rack, aerodynamic full-bed tonneau cover and tailgate spoiler, the hood is made with a partially transparent acrylic hood insert window to see the engine from outside the vehicle. A carbon fiber engine cover features an oversize Cummins logo, with a red center, black carbon sides and hidden illumination. "Cummins Turbo Diesel badges" are also recessed into both front fenders. The Frontier Diesel Runner's interior mirrors the silver and red exterior design, with red accents throughout and carbon-trimmed seats and panels. The front and rear seats feature carbon-print leather appointments with grey accent stitching and black-on-black "Tracks" embroidery. The carbon film-wrapped instrument panel is highlighted by red-tinted gauges and a special black-faced diesel-specific three-gauge pod on top of the C-cluster. Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Interior The red carpet is a bit garish but it matches the Cummins brand splash. The three centrally mounted gauges include an EGT, Boost, and Transmission Oil temperature. If EGT reaches over 850 degrees I am concerned. At a maximum indicated 1,400 + degrees C, I would be exiting the truck and calling the fire department. The Frontier Diesel Runner with the 2.8L Cummins will be showcased throughout the consumer days of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place, Chicago. I sure hope Nissan and Cummins do something special with this one as it not only focuses in on the future of internal combustion engine but provides a tip of the spear like attitude while doing it. And what about a future Power Stroke or Duramax? They pale by comparison to the name that defines heavy duty. That name being Cummins.