Kenworth to showcase medium-duty hybrids at HTUF in Seattle

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Kenworth announced Sept. 13 that it will showcase four medium-duty diesel-electric hybrid trucks at the 7th annual Hybrid Truck Users Forum Thursday, Sept. 20-Friday, Sept. 21 in Seattle at the Qwest Field Event Center. The national forum brings together fleets, suppliers and manufacturers to examine the latest in hybrid technology for the trucking industry.

Kenworth’s featured medium-duty conventional hybrids will include a pickup and delivery truck, utility service truck, municipal aerial truck and straight chassis. All four vehicles are equipped with a Paccar PX-6 engine rated at 240 hp and 560 ft-lb of torque. The primary components of Kenworth’s medium-duty hybrids include an automated transmission with an integral motor/generator unit; frame-mounted, 340-volt battery pack; and a dedicated power management system.

“Hybrid technology looks very promising in the commercial vehicle market,” says Bob Christensen, general manager of Kirkland, Wash.-based Kenworth and Paccar vice president. Christensen notes that Paccar, Kenworth’s parent company, is this year’s host and a sponsor of the forum. “Kenworth recently started deliveries of its medium-duty diesel-electric truck, which is targeted for pickup and delivery operations, municipal fleets and utilities,” he says. “The hybrid will go into full production in 2008.”

Paccar recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with Eaton Corp. to jointly develop proprietary hybrid technology for heavy-duty commercial vehicles in North America. The new products will be introduced in Kenworth Class 8 trucks in the North American market, targeted for initial production by the end of 2009.

A major highlight of this year’s national forum in Seattle will be the Ride and Drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT on Friday, Sept. 21, in Qwest Field’s north parking lot. Three Kenworth medium-duty hybrids will be available for this segment of the forum.

Kenworth’s goal for its new medium-duty hybrid is to enhance fuel economy by up to 30 percent in start-and-stop applications. Above 30 mph, the Kenworth hybrid operates like a standard diesel vehicle, with all power coming from the engine during steady driving conditions. Below 30 mph, it uses a combination of diesel and electricity, with the system automatically switching between the two modes of operation. Electricity generated through regenerative braking is stored and used for acceleration, assisting the diesel engine.

In addition to its hybrid efforts, Kenworth’s dedication to the “green fleet” includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay program, Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system and Kenworth T800 liquefied natural gas trucks.