International Truck and Engine Corp. truck group president Dee Kapur thoroughly understands all the emission technology and pricing changes on today’s Class 8 trucks is a tall order for fleets to handle. Yet he also believes that once fleets get some miles with this equipment under their belts, a lot of their worries should dissipate.

“Make no mistake: this is a big deal for fleets,” Kapur told FleetOwner. “We shouldn’t minimize the fact that ’07 technology is new and at times complicated. We’re talking about new combustion strategies within the engine and a brand new aftertreatment system, so I certainly appreciate their apprehension. But I also think those worries will dissipate once they get some experience with it.”

Kapur said International tried to address a lot of those concerns with its new ProStar Class 8 tractor, a truck just now entering service with several fleets. “The immediate feedback we’re getting on the ProStar centers on driver satisfaction, with handling, performance, and low-noise as the critical factors,” he said. “We can clearly demonstrate fuel economy and maintenance savings, but those [metrics] will take time for a fleet to build.”

Better integration is what Kapur believes will be the key to negating a lot of the adverse impacts generated by emission reduction efforts, such as lower fuel economy due to additional components. He also expects International will get a huge boost in that regard when the company’s MaxxForce big bore 11- and 13-liter engines become available for its trucks this fall.

“With our own engine in our own truck, integration becomes an even bigger advantage, especially as we move into an even tougher emission control and fuel efficiency environment in trucking,” he said. “A common engine and truck allows you to better tailor the cooling system to handle the higher heat rejection generated from emission control needs to better shifting optimization to maximize fuel economy. You can’t manage the trade-offs involved when you are dealing with engines built to supply a broader range of trucks.”

One of those trade-offs deals with weight and performance. Kapur said the MaxxForce big bore engines will be 220 to 441 lb. (100 to 200 kilograms) lighter than competitive models, yet should also be able to deliver better performance. “These engines reach peak torque at a much lower RPM rate than other big bore models – that faster rise rate gives you better response at take-off,” he explained. “The lower weight, of course, helps with fuel economy – trying again to offset some of the fuel efficiency losses due to emission control.”

To comment on this article, write to Sean Kilcarr at skilcarr@fleetowner.com