Kenworth Developing Hydrogen Fuel Cell and CNG-Hybrid Trucks

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Kenworth continues its advancements on low/zero emission projects focused on Kenworth T680 day cabs for drayage tractor operation in Southern California ports, which are backed by $9 million in government grants awarded last August.

Kenworth is developing a prototype Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell tractor, using the Ballard Power Systems fuel cell to recharge the battery pack. The hydrogen fuel cell series hybrid T680 day cab tractor uses lithium-ion batteries to power a dual-rotor electric motor, driving the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission. Kenworth’s hydrogen truck is expected to be ready for initial track and on-road testing in the fourth quarter of this year.

Kenworth has also begun building a second prototype series hybrid-electric T680 day cab designed to produce near-zero-emissions. The truck will use the currently available Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero NOx engine fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) to generate electrical power. Initial track and road testing is expected to start in the fourth quarter.

These two T680 tractors will be identical, with the exception of their power generation systems. Each truck will have an electric-only range of approximately 30 miles (48 km), and the on-board fuel—hydrogen or natural gas—will provide sufficient range for a full day in regional haul applications.

Kenworth’s work on these programs is supported by grants of $2.1 million for each project from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as the prime applicant.

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