Kenworth is developing a prototype Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell tractor designed to provide true zeroemissions operation

Kenworth building hydrogen fuel tractor for drayage use

May 8, 2017
Manufacturer is also developing hybrid-electric vehicles for use in Southern California.

LONG BEACH, CA. Kenworth Truck Co. is developing a Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell tractor for use at Southern California ports.

The truck manufacturer said at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo the T680 day cab model will be ready for initial testing before the end of 2017.

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 fuel cell is being provided by Ballard Power Systems.

The vehicle is one of several prototypes the company is developing with the aid of $9 million in grants from local and federal government agencies.

“These T680 day cab projects provide an excellent opportunity for Kenworth to develop and advance important technologies that may play a critical role in the trucks of tomorrow,” said Patrick Dean, Kenworth’s chief engineer. “We look forward to playing a leadership role to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

Kenworth also said it has started building a second prototype series hybrid-electric T680 designed to produce near-zero emissions. The truck will use the Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero NOx engine fueled by compressed natural gas to generate electrical power.

Kenworth showcased a T880s mixer, its first equipment with the Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero emissions engine. (ACT Expo photo)

These T680s will be identical, other than the power generation systems. Each truck will have an electric-only range of 30 miles, and the on-board fuel will provide sufficient range for a full day in regional haul applications.

As part of a separate project, Kenworth plans to develop four additional hybrid-electric T680 day cabs to support customer field in Southern California drayage operations.

Also at ACT, Kenworth showcased a T880s mixer, its first equipment with the Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero emissions engine. It was built in partnership with CalPortland and McNeilus

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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