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Electric Classic

Electric Classic

NZ Truck & Driver News

 March 2018   
Kenworth, the classic north American make, is embracing the alternative future – with its own zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell-powered battery electric prototype.

The Kenworth T680 day cab is part of a Californian Zero Emission Cargo Transport (ZECT) demonstration project.

Its fuel cell combines compressed hydrogen gas and air to produce electricity with only water vapour emitted. The electricity can be used to power the tractor unit's dual-rotor electric motor to move the truck, or to 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.

Stephan Olsen, Kenworth director of product planning, says that the fuel cell T680 has already been running trials "and performing very well.

The next step, he says, is real-world testing with a port dray...

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Kenworth, the classic north American make, is embracing the alternative future – with its own zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell-powered battery electric prototype.

The Kenworth T680 day cab is part of a Californian Zero Emission Cargo Transport (ZECT) demonstration project.

Its fuel cell combines compressed hydrogen gas and air to produce electricity with only water vapour emitted. The electricity can be used to power the tractor unit's dual-rotor electric motor to move the truck, or to 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.

Stephan Olsen, Kenworth director of product planning, says that the fuel cell T680 has already been running trials "and performing very well.

The next step, he says, is real-world testing with a port drayage operator at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in southern California."

Olsen says that the truck will have a 250-kilometre (150-mile) range, making it ideal for short-haul and port operations. With a dual-rotor traction motor output of 420 kilowatts/565 horsepower, the truck is capable of running at the same legal gross combination weight of a Class 8 vehicle.

In testing the truck "performs equally as well, if not better than, current diesel trucks on the market," Olsen 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." Kenworth is "heavily focused" on the evaluation and development of both, he says.

The hydrogen-based T680, which has benefitted from $US2.8million in government funding, is capable of travelling up to 160kms fully loaded, running 50-80km/h. Kenworth plans to increase the range with the addition of greater hydrogen storage capacity.

Its only emissions are in the form of steam, given off when the hydrogen fuel cell stack (located under the bonnet) is charging the batteries. It operates near-silently – the only noise coming from its cooling fans and air compressor.

The truck has six compressed hydrogen storage tanks located behind the cab and runs a modified four-speed Eaton AMT.


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