Knight Transportation 'encouraged' by new Cummins nat gas engine

Cannon Mug Headshot
Knight transportation, Cummins and Clean Energy demonstrate potential of ultra-low carbon fuel through Cummins X15N natural gas powertrains in California.
Knight transportation, Cummins and Clean Energy demonstrate potential of ultra-low carbon fuel through Cummins X15N natural gas powertrains in California.

Phoenix, Arizona-based Knight Transportation says the company is encouraged by the performance of Cummins' X15N natural gas engine and the potential it unlocks once it enters production some time next year. 

"What makes it encouraging is that most previous natural gas engine offerings have been smaller displacement engines that really lacked power," said Dave Williams, the carrier's senior vice president of equipment and government relations. "This is the first engine in recent time to bring a larger displacement, higher horsepower and torque, that allow us to do more than just local work.

Knight, part of the industry's largest full truckload company Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings (CCJ Top 250, No. 5), has been testing the X15N natural gas engine in Southern California and its field testing will continue through full production of the X15N powertrain in 2024. The motor carrier's goal is to reduce CO2 emissions generated from the fleet by 50% by 2035, Williams added. 

The truck is fueled exclusively with Clean Energy ultra-low carbon Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) anchored by Clean Energy’s station in Carson, California. 

“We create negative carbon intensity RNG by trapping methane at its biogenic source, preventing it from escaping to atmosphere, and turning it into transportation grade renewable fuel," said Clean Energy Vice President Derek Turbide. "This results in Clean Energy’s negative carbon intensity RNG that we supply to Clean Energy stations throughout California."

Introduced in October 2021, the X15N natural gas engine is capable of up to 500hp and 1,850 ft.-lbs. of torque and is also the basis for a recently announced hydrogen internal combustion engine currently under development at Cummins.

The X15N is the powertrain of choice for Starship, Shell's concept truck currently in its third generation. Shell Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) will supply fuel along with Love's-owned Trilium. 

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]
Hydrogen Fuel Cell & BEV Survey
The following survey was sent as a link in an email cover message in February 2023 to the newsletter lists for Overdrive and CCJ. After approximately two weeks, a total of 176 owner-operators under their own authority, 113 owner-operators leased or assigned to a carrier and 82 fleet executives and 36 fleet employees from fleets with 10 or more power units had completed and submitted the questionnaire for a total of 407 qualified responses. Cross-tabulations based on respondent type are provided for each question when applicable.
View Infogram