Ways Around EGR

Tom Berg | September 28, 2010

Mercedes-Benz diesel
Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star trucks now come standard with Mercedes-Benz diesels, which will not need EGR until January 2004.

Not every truck will feature an EGR engine this month. Caterpillar is using a non-EGR approach to meeting the new NOx standard, and nearly all imported diesels, as well as several domestic engines, won't need EGR until 2004.

Cat's Clean Power engines emit about 2.7 grams of NOx, or 0.2 gram more than the limit, so Cat must pay EPA non-compliance penalties of about $4,000 per engine.

Cat pledged to not pass on those penalties to customers, but it is trying to recoup costs of development. So it has raised its prices to about the same level as those for EGR engines.

Clean Power and ACERT diesels use exhaust aftertreatment which add bulk and cost, and Cat's bigger ACERT diesels might use two-stage turbocharging with a water-to-air pre-intercooler. Thus complexity would climb, even without EGR. Still, Cat is a highly regarded brand and remains an option from many truck builders.

Freightliner LLC offers Cat and Detroit Diesel engines, but is now standard with EGR-exempt Mercedes-Benz diesels in its medium and heavy models. Without EGR, M-B engines are less costly, and Mercedes, a sister company to Freightliner, has pointedly not raised its prices. So the typical Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star heavy truck will be priced about $5,000 less than with a Cat or Detroit engine.

The heavy-duty MBE4000 engine is built in Brazil, and the midrange MBE900 is assembled in Germany, but they will both be serviced by Detroit Diesel dealers.

"We realize we have a golden opportunity with our Mercedes engines, and intend to take advantage of it," says Mark Lambert, Freightliner's vice president for sales and marketing.