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MATS Report: Kenworth focuses on ‘green’ solutions at Mid-America

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- There was a heavy emphasis on the environment at this year's Mid-America Trucking Show, a topic ...


Kenworth's T800 LNG truck reduces emissions and uses a fuel that's significantly cheaper than diesel, the company pointed out at the Mid-America Trucking Show.
Kenworth's T800 LNG truck reduces emissions and uses a fuel that's significantly cheaper than diesel, the company pointed out at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There was a heavy emphasis on the environment at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show, a topic that dominated Kenworth’s annual press conference at the show.

Among its environmental initiatives was the expanded launch of Kenworth’s Clean Power cab comfort system. The battery-based system is now available on W900 and T800 truck models with 72-inch sleepers, company officials announced at the show. The system offers about an 8% fuel savings, Kenworth claimed, since it allows for heating, cooling and hotel load power without idling. The system boasts zero-emissions and is CARB-compliant.

“Kenworth Clean Power system offers a much lower life-cycle cost compared to a typical auxiliary power unit over a four-year period,” said Kenworth’s Gary Moore. “The typical APU’s cost includes aftermarket installation, emissions compliance equipment for operation in California, and fuel consumption that is significantly higher. As a result, the Kenworth Clean Power customer can receive a payback in a little over a year, compared to more than two years for an APU user. It’s definitely important to thoroughly explore the life-cycle cost equation before making a decision.”

Kenworth also announced it will be in full production of its medium-duty hybrid trucks by this summer. The company’s T270 Class 6 truck and its T370 Class 7 offering will both be available as hybrid-drive vehicles. Both will be built at Kenworth’s Ste-Therese, Que. plant.

Officials at the Mid-America Trucking Show claimed the hybrid versions of these trucks will offer a 30% fuel economy improvement in pickup-and-delivery applications and about a 50% savings in utility operations. The base engine will be the PACCAR PX-6 and each vehicle will feature Eaton’s hybrid-electric system.

Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice-president Bob Christensen also addressed the company’s environmental initiatives at the show.

“High diesel fuel prices and new environmental rules will drive innovative new technologies in the commercial vehicle market,” Christensen said. “Kenworth is recognized as a technology leader and we are introducing practical solutions for these market realities.”

In addition to hybrids and anti-idling solutions, Kenworth is also actively developing trucks that run off alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG). Several of these T800 LNG trucks are already in service at ports in California. The company utilizes Canadian firm Westport’s LNG fuel system as well as a Cummins base engine. Full production of the LNG-powered T800 will commence in 2009, Kenworth announced.

Mike Dozier, chief engineer for Kenworth, said the company’s LNG trucks will reduce NOx by 33% and greenhouse gases by 20%. He also noted natural gas costs significantly less than diesel.


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