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ISX15 SmartAdvantage™ Powertrain A Smart Choice for CTI

Central Trucking Inc. (CTI) is a family-owned fleet of 210 trucks hauling goods between the Midwest and the West Coast. Every truck is powered by a Cummins ISX15 engine, 24 of which also have the ISX15 SmartAdvantage Powertrain. This partnership has been paying huge dividends for CTI in terms of driver acceptance, improved fuel economy, reduced maintenance and total cost of ownership. Mark Roberts, CTI President, shared his candid feedback in an interview with us.

Driver Acceptance
The move from a manual gearbox to the Eaton Fuller Advantage® automated manual transmission was initially met with some skepticism, and even a little hostility. However, as noted by Roberts, the drivers quickly embraced the new transmissions after experiencing the product:

“Drivers were very resistant at first, (and they) kept telling us they didn’t want to drive them… . It wasn’t even six months, and all they talked about was how they didn’t want to go back to a stick shift.”

The Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-Speed automated manual paired with the ISX15 engine provides performance, productivity and safety benefits that drivers quickly learn to appreciate:

“(Drivers) love the way the automatic, automated manual transmission makes them feel less tired after a run… and they feel more alert on the road. The powertrain takes off much better (than prior models), shifts much smoother and has a better all-around feel to them.”

The ISX15 SmartAdvantage Powertrain installed on CTI’s trucks came with SmartCoast™ – an option within the ADEPT™ suite of Cummins electronic engine features. SmartCoast takes advantage of the vehicle’s momentum when operating on moderate downhills (up to 4% grade) by neutralizing the front box of the transmission and allowing the engine to coast at 600 rpm, which saves fuel. It was a different experience, especially for some of the more seasoned drivers, but one that has paid off for CTI.

Fuel Economy
The fuel-efficiency gain was significant from the start:

“Between the truck and transmission, we saw our miles per gallon increase by about .75.”

“Once (drivers) got used to (an automated transmission), they all seemed to like it – just a learning curve for them… It didn’t take them very long to get comfortable with it.”

Reliability and Maintenance
CTI’s trucks still are relatively new, but the automated transmission is projected to reduce downtime and repair costs:

“We’re seeing a definite gain, as there are no clutch problems, and you don’t get (issues associated with) the shock load. The drivelines are much tighter than on a truck with a stick. In essence, it’s going to make your drivetrain last longer.”

Residual Value and Total Cost of Ownership
CTI cycles through its trucks every three years. CTI expects a greater return on trucks equipped with an automated manual transmission (AMT) at the time of resale, as by then the automated transmission “will be standard.”

100% Convinced. 100% of New Orders
While Mark and his brother Keith Roberts can talk for hours about the benefits they’ve seen and heard from their drivers and mangers, one fact says it all: Over the next 12 months, CTI plans to repower its entire fleet of over 200 trucks with the ISX15 SmartAdvantage Powertrain with SmartCoast. It is safe to say that Redefining Efficiency is working for CTI.

SmartAdvantage For Sales Personnel
CTI believes that all customers will benefit from the ISX15 SmartAdvantage Powertrain:

If a salesman will bring his potential customer in and educate him, show him some data from what the truck was doing in our fleet… show him how much fuel savings he’ll get and how much money will go into his pocket every year, then he’ll understand.”

Additional details about the SmartAdvantage Powertrain are available at

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