Navistar – the only U.S. truck manufacturer that will not use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet 2010 diesel emissions requirements – says its alternative “advanced EGR” approach will add $8,000 to heavy-duty trucks with its MaxxForce 11- and 13-liter engines, and $6,000 to medium-duty models with its MaxxForce 7-, 7.6-, 9- and 10-liter engines, according to a company announcement.

By comparison, Volvo Trucks North America announced earlier this year that its SCR engine technology will carry a price tag of $9,600 for its heavy-duty models. Price increases tied to 2010 emissions have not yet been released by the other U.S. truck makers employing SCR, but are expected to be in that range.

In all cases the emissions-related surcharges will also be subject to federal excise and sales taxes, raising the cost for meeting 2010 requirements another $2,000 or more.

SCR requires the addition of a tank to hold diesel emissions fluid (DEF) and other hardware to convert NOx in engine exhaust into nitrogen and water. DEF tanks must also be refilled to keep the system performing properly. The added cost for 2010 trucks with SCR covers the cost of that added hardware as well as significant investments in research and development by the manufacturers.

Navistar said it will meet the 2010 rules with its advanced EGR technology and by expending “emission credits” it has banked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)as a builder of light-duty diesel engines. The company said its advanced EGR solution reduces NOx in the combustion process by introducing high levels of exhaust gases back into the pistons.

While advanced EGR does not add new aftertreatment hardware, the surcharge is necessary to recover development costs, according to Jim Hebe, Navistar’s sr. vp-- North American Sales. The new emissions requirements will also bring significant changes to Navistar’s engine hardware, including the use of dual turbochargers and twin coolers to bring down EGR temperatures.

Hebe pointed out that Navistar’s 2010 surcharge represents “an upfront cost only” and that there will be “no ongoing costs [for DEF] or incremental maintenance costs for the SCR system.”

Volvo and the other truck makers counter that SCR will improve fuel economy beyond current levels, more than offsetting the cost of DEF, while increased EGR will degrade fuel economy. Those truck makers cite field and fleet tests of SCR engines showing fuel economy improvements of 3% or more compared to current versions of their engines.

Those claims “are solely based on Class 8 on-highway operations,” according to Jack Allen, president of Navistar’s North American Truck Group. “Looking across all applications, [advanced EGR] is equal to SCR, and in some light- and medium-duty applications, EGR might even be better,” he said during a press conference yesterday.

According to Ramin Youonessi, group VP, product development & business strategy, the cooling requirements for Navistar’s 2010 engine solution will result in “no increase in hood length or height or make [the truck] lower to the ground; even the grille will stay the same from the outside. What we are changing is under the hood, by moving the charge air coolers.” He noted this will also “make under the hood more service-friendly” and add less than 50 lbs. in weight.

Youonessi said Navistar is currently conducting final validation testing of its 2010 engines. The OEM expects to unveil the 2010 models at its dealer meeting in October, and will have trucks for customer and media test drives available after that meeting, according to Hebe.
EPA certification and initial production of the MaxxForce MD and HD engines is expected “early next year,” Allen said. Development of a 15-liter MaxxForce Big Bore diesel based on Caterpillar’s C15 is continuing, and is expected to be ready for production sometime later in 2010.

Asked about Navistar’s ongoing federal suit over the EPA’s certification process for SCR engines, Allen said the U.S. Court of Appeals has not yet set hearing dates, nor has EPA issued a formal response.