June 19-20, it was off to Chillicothe, Ohio, where I had the opportunity to drive a bunch of Kenworth trucks, among them, the new T680 Advantage. The Advantage incorporates a set of fuel-saving specifications that can collectively improve fuel economy an additional 5-6% above the T680’s already very good fuel economy. But those spec’s include a 6×2 and not to belabour the point, but the 6×2 is illegal here because of government bureaucracy, not to mention hypocrisy. So knock off a couple percent and you still get a 4-5% fuel economy improvement by opting for the Advantage version of the T680.
I’m a big fan of the 680. It’s a nice, comfortable truck to drive, with great visibility and a quiet cab and it’s easier to maneuver than the wider T700, which has quickly been overtaken by the T680 in terms of popularity and sales volumes. The Advantage version is no different than the regular T680 from behind the wheel. I can say without a doubt, the one I drove was the greenest truck I’ve ever driven. They call it Shamrock Green. There is nothing subtle about the colour of this truck. But it’s not about the colour.
The T680 Advantage I drove was fitted with all manner of fuel-saving technologies, including wheel covers and a trailer tail (which, incidentally, is also illegal in Canada due to government bureaucracy and hypocrisy). I’m not going to go off on another rant about the stupidity of some of the regulations in this country, which prevent the trucking industry here from taking advantage of proven and effective fuel-saving technologies. I’m really not. But I can tell you that I safely pulled a tailed trailer and not one car ran into the back of me. Isn’t it time we get with the program, roll up our sleeves and do whatever it takes on a provincial level to permit the use of full-sized trailer tails and 6×2 axle configurations?
You can read my full report on the T680 Advantage here. Read to the bottom and you’ll also get an update on Kenworth’s T880 vocational truck, which is quickly closing in on the time-tested T800 in terms of volumes. The T880 is an upgrade over the T800, even though fans of the T8 will be sad to see it go. It sounds like you’ll have another five to six years before the T8 is fully retired. When they do discontinue the T800 I hope they have some kind of ceremony for it. If there was a Hall of Fame for trucks, it would have earned a spot in it.
On a side note, I toured the very busy Kenworth truck plant while in Chillicothe. It’s pumping out about 150 trucks a day. It was producing 124 trucks a day as recently as January, so you can see business is good.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies