Our trip through Canada has come to an end this week. From Toronto to Winnipeg, across to Edmonton, and through the mountains to Vancouver – the entire experience was unmatched. Cummins Western Canada hosted their event in Edmonton and they did not hold back. More than 400 customers and attendees came out to see Cummins products in action while enjoying some mid-summer sun, local grilling expertise, live music and even an ice cream truck. While we loved our time in Edmonton, and couldn’t wait to take the trucks through the Canadian Rockies on our way to Vancouver.
The trucks pulled out of Edmonton early the following morning to ascend the foothills leading to the mountain pass. It was here that our drivers really began to realize the benefits of the ADEPT package equipped on the ISX15 engines spec’d for maximum fuel economy. As soon as the trucks crested a hill and began down the next grade, the tachometer would drop to 600 rpm as the SmartCoast feature was engaged. By sensing road grade on moderate downhills, the driveline will disengage, allowing the engine to return to idle reducing unnecessary drag on the engine and allowing the truck to gain momentum to get up the next hill.
Mike, one of our drivers, had a great experience using SmartCoast through the mountains. “Initially I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once I experienced it, I understood how it was working,” Mike said. “After a while, I got comfortable with it and just ran on cruise control. I was using it because it felt like it was doing me a favor – it was comfortable to drive. Coming up to a hill, it climbs at the right speed and it coasts back down at the right speed. I felt completely in control without the stress of figuring out what I need to do to maintain speed.”
All of this leads to better fuel economy and drivability, which was evident along our drive through the mountains. It wasn’t just the great fuel economy we noticed – the engine braking performance was something that really got the drivers talking.
Our route took us through the Coquihalla Pass, which is renowned for its steep downhill grades and dangerous curves. For 11 miles, this pass winds through the mountains at road grades consistently above 6%, and all the way up to 9% at times. With rain at every turn the drivers were still able to downshift and let the Cummins Intebrake system do all of the work. Our lead vehicle, spec’d with a maximum performance ISX15 and a 13-speed transmission, had us comfortably cruising down the full pass in 11th gear at 35 mph without a need to touch the service brakes even once! The tour fleet stuck together the entire time with the drivers raving about the strength of the Intebrake over the CB radio all the way.
When we left the Coquihalla, it was smooth driving onto our final Canadian stop: Vancouver. Rain followed us through the mountains all the way to the ocean but when we arrived in Vancouver the clouds parted and the sun warmed the city. With another fantastic showing of customers, dealers, and other attendees, Cummins Western Canada put on a great show for everyone and made it hard for us to leave the country.
But onwards we go! Across the border to Seattle, Portland and down the West Coast of the US. We can’t wait to see you out there!