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Kenworth set to debut hydrogen prototype T680

18-Wheeler

By using the fuel cell – provided by Ballard Power Systems in Burnaby, British Columbia – to recharge the batteries, the only emission coming out of the T680 tailpipe will be water.

Kenworth will debut its hydrogen fuel cell T680 at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next week in Las Vegas, a show normally reserved for connected technologies and artificial intelligence.

This marks the first time Paccar has exhibited at that show, which draws close to 200,000 visitors. The truck-maker will share the floor with the likes of Amazon, Samsung and Google.

On display will be a prototype zero-emission Kenworth T680 day cab equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell, part of the Zero Emission Cargo Transport Demonstration project. The tractor uses lithium-ion batteries to power a dual-rotor electric motor, driving the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission.

The Kenworth T680 day cab’s fuel cell combines compressed hydrogen gas and air to produce electricity with only water vapor emitted at the tailpipe. This electricity can power the dual-rotor electric motor to move the truck, or it can recharge the lithium-ion batteries for use later.  The hybrid drive system manages the power from the fuel cell to and from the batteries, as well as the traction motors and other components, such as the electrified power steering and brake air compressor.

Kenworth Director of Product Planning Stephan Olsen says the T680 has been running trials in the Seattle area and performing well, with the next step being real-world testing with Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI) at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California.

Olsen says the hydrogen fuel-cell based Kenworth T680 will have an initial range of 150 miles and with a dual-rotor traction motor output of 565 hp, the truck is capable of carrying the legal gross combination weight of a Class 8 vehicle.

“Our testing shows that this truck performs equally as well, if not better than, current diesel trucks on the market,” he says. “There is a lot of promise, and we see the day where Kenworth’s zero and near-zero emission trucks could be a common sight in regional operations.”

The truck was part of the development project supported by $2.1 million in funding under a larger grant 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) being the prime applicant.

The T680 on display is one of six prototype T680 day cab zero or near-zero emissions drayage tractors that will transport freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and railyards in the Los Angeles basin.

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Jason Cannon is the Equipment Editor for Commercial Carrier Journal and Overdrive, and is a Class A CDL holder. Reach him at jasoncannon@randallreilly.com.