Paccar plans to up spending on R&D in development of ‘next generation’ trucks

As powertrain electrification continues to surge in prominence, Paccar President and Chief Financial Officer Harrie Schippers says the builder of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks plans to boost Research and Development spending by upwards of $30 million next year.

The DAF CF Electric, LF Electric and CF hybrid trucks are currently entering field testing with European customers and Schippers says the company looks forward to customer demands for electric and hybrid powertrains in applications like refuse, urban delivery and product operations.

“Longer term, electric vehicles will be competitive in more applications. While we are preparing for the long-term by making investments in alternative powertrain technologies, we do expect diesel to remain the most efficient powertrain technology in heavy truck applications for the foreseeable future,” he adds.

“I think in the economics of diesel just makes sense and they’re going to continue to make sense for a long time. So it’s going to be the dominant power source for long-haul trucking certainly,” adds Paccar CEO Ron Armstrong. “There’s obviously going to be opportunities that will develop in urban areas that may bring about hybrids or electric vehicles and we’re prepared for those. We have a full suite of vehicles in terms of all-electric, heavy, light-duty both in North America and in Europe. So, we’re well-prepared for the places where it makes sense. We think there will be local geographies more than they will generally widespread displacement of diesel for the foreseeable future.”

For 2019, Schippers says Paccar anticipates R&D spending to of $300 million to $330 million versus $300 million to $310 million this year. Capital investments could surge another $100 million.

“These investments will develop the next generation of Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF trucks and enhance Paccar’s diesel and alternative powertrain technologies and add additional capacity and efficiency to the company’s manufacturing and parts distribution facilities,” he says.