LOUISVILLE, KY. Two items top the list of Kenworth Truck Co.’s product introductions here at this year’s Mid America Trucking Show (MATS): a new 76-in. mid-roof sleeper package for the OEM’s T680 and T880 models, due to go into full production this fall, and the limited edition ICON 900 based off the company’s W900L tractor.
Preston Feight, Kenworth’s GM, said that the new 76-in. mid roof sleeper is 100 lbs. lighter than the high-roof sleeper package and is “optimized” to provide a more aerodynamic profile specifically for tanker and flatbed operators – a profile that can offer such operators up to a 5% boost in fuel economy.
“For many truck operators, obtaining additional payload capacity can make a big difference in potential profit,” he said. “The efficient mid-roof design has lower drag, and provides a reduction in fuel expenses.”
Feight also noted that Kenworth expects to sell about 1,000 to 1,500 of the new limited edition ICON 90 – being positioned as a “trucker’s truck” – is being offered with a 72- or 86-in. sleeper and up to a 600-hp engine.
He added that the OEM maintains enough greenhouse gas [GHG] credits to offset the ICON 900’s less-than-aerodynamic profile.
“We’re positive on GHG credits due to our overall aerodynamic model offerings,” Feight pointed out.
Other items Kenworth highlighted at MATS this year include:
- Predictive Cruise Control: A system that combines cruise control with GPS to provide “intelligent autopilot” when it comes to managing vehicle speed, said Kevin Baney, Kenworth’s chief engineer “Our system, available on the Kenworth T680 and T880 when spec’d with the proprietary Paccar MX-13 engine, anticipates the terrain ahead and ensures the engine and transmission are operating in the most efficient mode,” he said.
- Driver Performance Assistant: Introduced as an option last fall, it is now standard on Kenworth T680s and T880s spec’d with the Paccar MX-13 engine. “On hilly or mountainous terrain, the system slightly increases the speed of the truck as it approaches a hill, then feathers off the throttle automatically when the truck is about to crest the hill,” Baney added
- Driver Shift Aid: Available on Kenworth models equipped with MX-13 engine with manual transmissions, this system provides visual cues – such as “shift now” light – and recommends points for when to skip or split shifting. “By keeping the engine in the optimum RPM range, fuel economy is enhanced,” Baney said.
- Driver Performance Assistant: A built-in virtual driver’s coach, this technology package is designed to help improve driver performance for fleets and owner operators alike, he explained. “It provides drivers with real-time coaching based on coasting and braking as a means to improve fuel economy,” Baney noted, including a trip performance review.
- TruckTech+: Starting this summer, new Kenworth Class 8 trucks spec’d with the MX-13 engine get tied into this real-time vehicle health monitoring technology provided by PeopleNet – allowing the MX-13 engine to “talk” with a fleet manager, Kenworth call center and Kenworth dealer to manage repairs faster and more efficiently. The OEM noted that TruckTech+ is free for two years then requires a subscription.
- NAV+ HD: This is a next-generation, multi-functional communication and entertainment system that will be standard for new Kenworth Class 8 trucks ordered with the OEM’s premium interior package, or available as an option for all new Kenworth Class 6-8 conventional trucks. It features a 7-in. high-definition touch screen, integration into the Kenworth SmartWheel steering wheel, hands-free Bluetooth phone capability, truck navigation through Co-Pilot, iPod and MP3 integration, and WiFi capability.
- Ultracapacitor-based Engine Start Module (ESM): Available as a factory-installed option for new Kenworth T680s and T880s, ESM provides dedicated power to start the truck – freeing up a truck’s standard batteries to focus on powering accessory devices such as a laptop, microwave, refrigerator and television electronics in addition to the truck’s electronics and lights. It is designed to start an engine in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees to a high of 149 degrees Fahrenheit, even when the batteries have low voltage.
- Inverter/Charger improvements: A newly enhanced 1,800-watt inverter provides drivers with the convenience of AC power in the sleeper to efficiently run appliances, entertainment systems and other devices. “Inverters are really a popular option, and aid in driver comfort,” said Baney. “It’s so much more convenient to run everyday products on AC-power versus DC. The benefit is that drivers can operate more systems and devices with the inverter’s better performance in handling high-amp loads.” The new inverter is optional for Kenworth’s Idle Management System with the T680 76-inch sleeper.
- Idle Management System Auto Start and Stop: A battery-based auxiliary power unit (APU) system, designed to keep the cab and sleeper comfortable for up to 10 hours, Baney said later this year an engine Auto Start/Stop function will be added to provide automatic battery monitoring and engine startup when batteries get depleted to their minimum power levels. “This allows the batteries to be recharged while air conditioning and hotel loads are still being utilized. Once batteries are sufficiently charged, the system shuts down the engine and runs once again on pure battery power.”
- Kenworth T680 Advantage upgrades: The 2015 iteration of Kenworth’s super fuel efficient T680 Advantage package now offers 10% better fuel economy compared to the 2013 version. “That 10% gain equates to a yearly savings of more than $4,600 in fuel per truck for the average long-haul operation,” Baney noted, when fuel cost is calculated around $4 per gallon. New T680 Advantage specs include the addition of the OEM’s Idle Management System, tire pressure monitoring, wide-base tires, and predictive cruise control.