Diesel Will Remain Dominant

A crucial balance for engine manufacturers is being able to offer OEM and end-user customers individual solutions, while investing in the future technologies of engine systems.

Oscar Baroncelli

The Future of Diesel

Where do you see diesel playing a role in heavy-duty applications in the long run?

It is true that the future emissions standards will be more and more strict in the following years, so there will be a drastic change in technology, especially in selected areas – such as cities and urban and metropolitan zones – where these bans will be introduced.

At the same time, particularly if we talk about heavy-duty applications, diesel will remain the most dominant technology. This is why one of our pillars for future developments is enhancing clean diesel engines in order to meet future requirements, especially those regarding emissions standards.

The crucial point is that, as an engine manufacturer, we will be asked to be ready in offering the best solutions for any individual need, for OEMs as well as for end-users. But we also are at the forefront in the development of other solutions that will complement diesel technology. As an example of our effort, we were the first to launch, in 2016, the Cursor 9 Natural Gas (NG) engine, which has the same performances as a diesel engine. It can be fueled by natural gas that is compressed (CNG), liquefied (LNG) or bio-methane (by using this renewable form CO2 emissions can be close to zero). By delivering 400 hp, the Cursor 9 NG engine has a ratio of 10 hp per ton of load, which is in line with commercial long-distance standards for on-road transportation, equaling the performance of FPT Industrial’s best-in-class Cursor 9 Diesel version.

Hybrids & Electrification

Is the future fully electric, or will there always be a need for engine/hydraulic supplementary power?

The switch in technologies that will lead to electrification will take several steps. Especially in the industrial vehicle field, it will not happen in every application at the same time: light commercial vehicles will probably be the first ones to experience an increase in electrification, but we can’t say the same for others, in which we will have to wait a few more years. This also depends on costs: take those of batteries, for example. They have decreased in the past years but, without further incentives, they will remain noncompetitive – especially when compared to Diesel solutions. But if we think to a "ready now" solution suitable to reduce  decarbonization, we must refer to NG engines. That's the reason why our focus is on this kind of alternative fuel, where we are the market leader in Europe. The great advantage here is quite clearly that a more direct and positive effect can be achieved with regard to CO2 and other emissions, using technology that already exists in the field.


Challenges & Opportunities

What is your company’s opportunity to impact the marketplace with a unique product, capability or offering?

Nowadays, we think that the product – of our portfolio of innovation - which may impact in a really important way the present and future market is the NG engine. FPT Industrial has over 20 years of experience in this field, selling more than 30,000 NG engines: this not only makes us pioneers in the development of these engines but also gives us the chance to have the broadest engine range on the market for on-road use, for light, medium and heavy commercial vehicle applications. Furthermore, we were the first player to introduce an NG engine with diesel-like performance, specifically designed for agriculture applications. We launched our new NEF 6 cylinder Natural Gas engine - together with our sister brand New Holland Agriculture - in August at the Farm Progress Show, the largest specialized agriculture fair in the United States.

The development of this powertrain reaffirms FPT Industrial’s commitment to sustainable and tailor-made solutions. Compared to conventional diesel engines, this NG solution cuts pollutants by 80% in overall emissions, reduces vibration and noise (by up to 3 dBA), with a 50% reduction in drive-by-noise. Performance is identical to that of an equivalent diesel engine, particularly in terms of maximum power and torque. This is an in-line 6 cylinder engine, whose durability matches that of a standard power unit, and is complimented by running cost savings of up to 30%, while low fuel consumption is one of the enablers of day-long autonomy.

This is a unique product and we are sure that it will be a revolution able to open new horizons in the n-term.

*Notes for Dave:

byline: Oscar Baroncelli, Industrial Product Manager, FPT