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A Cummins Gasoline Engine?

Posted on July 14, 2014

Since 1919, Cummins has been known as a global manufacturer of on-highway, off-highway, industrial and marine diesel engines. The company has also developed natural gas engines, both on its own and with joint venture partners such as Westport, Inc.

But Cummins has never made gasoline engines (save for when it acquired a small gasoline engine line as part of its acquisition of Onan in the late 1980s).

That’s why the news that Cummins has developed an engine designed to operate on E85 — a blend of 85% ethanol with 15% gasoline — is surprising.

The company announced the development of the ETHOS (ETHanol Optimized System) 2.8 L engine and powertrain package as part of the Ultra-Low Carbon Powertrain Program sponsored by the California Energy Commission (CEC). Cummins said the engine and powertrain can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by as much as 80% compared with a baseline gasoline-powered medium-duty truck.

The Cummins ETHOS 2.8 L is designed specifically to use E-85 and operates at diesel-like cylinder pressures while using advanced spark-ignition technology, the company said. According to Cummins, it delivers the power (up to 250 hp) and peak torque (up to 450 lb. ft.) of gasoline and diesel engines nearly twice its displacement.

The Cummins ETHOS 2.8 L engine also incorporates an integrated stop-start system, which further reduces fuel consumption and emissions. Cummins-integrated specific system controls, along with a robust starter, smart alternator and sensors, are all designed to handle the additional stop-start duty cycle and maintain reliable operation over the life of the engine.

"The Cummins ETHOS engine, developed through a research partnership with CEC, clearly demonstrates that by combining innovative engine design and combustion approaches with low-carbon alternative fuels, we can determine a path to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," said Wayne Eckerle, Cummins vice president - Research and Technology. "Cummins produces industry-leading emissions-controls technologies and products and we continue to explore new ways to make our company stronger and our customers more successful, while reducing our environmental footprint. We are very appreciative of the CEC's funding participation in this important effort."

Cummins said it also worked closely with Allison Transmission to integrate the 2000 Series transmission and additional partners in the project included Valvoline, which provided NextGen engine oils specifically designed for lower CO2 emissions, and Freightliner Custom Chassis, which provided a prototype MT45 Class 5 step-van vehicle.

More than 1000 miles and 1500 hours have been accumulated on the ETHOS 2.8 L engine over the past 2.5 years, demonstrating that this technology is capable of far exceeding the 50% CO2 emissions reductions outlined in the project's goals, Cummins said. A final on-road validation testing phase has been underway in the Sacramento, Calif., area since June and continuing into July and is being managed by Cummins Pacific, the California and Hawaii distributor for Cummins Inc.

For additional details about California's Ultra-Low Carbon Powertrain Program, visit