Houston Light Truck Engines

Light truck engine research and development (R&D), successfully completed in 2004, used the expertise of U.S. heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturers in developing high-efficiency, low-emission diesel engines for light trucks (pickup trucks, vans, and sport-utility vehicles) that can:

  • Achieve at least a 50% improvement in on-road fuel economy over comparable gasoline-fueled vehicles while demonstrating U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) Tier 2 emission standards.
  • Provide the power needed for four-wheel drive, hauling, and towing (popular features of pickups and sport utility vehicles).


Under cooperative agreements (with 50% cost share), competitively selected industry teams (led by heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturers and in partnership with U.S. automakers) conducted R&D of clean diesel engines for the power rating and duty cycle appropriate for light trucks under 8,500 lb gross vehicle weight rating. These engines would provide the power (200 to 250 hp) needed for four-wheel drive, hauling, and towing. The engine cost and weight would be competitive with production gasoline engines of the same power rating with similar noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) characteristics. The optimized clean diesel engine would be installed in a light truck to show achievement of the goal in real-world driving conditions.

To date, this activity has completed dynamometer tests of light trucks with prototype diesel engines installed in a vehicle to replace production gasoline engines, and validated achievement of at least 50% improvement in fuel economy (miles per gallon) and EPA Tier 2 emission standards.


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