Fuel Smarts

Kenworth Developing Hydrogen Fuel Cell T680

May 02, 2017

Photo: Kenworth
Photo: Kenworth

Kenworth announced it is developing a prototype hydrogen fuel cell version of the T680 day cab for drayage tractor operation at Southern California ports.

The project is backed by a $9 million government grant awarded last August. The hydrogen fuel cell is provided by the Canadian company Ballard Power Systems and it will charge batteries on the truck, producing only water in emissions. The T680 day cab tractor will use lithium-ion batteries to power a dual-rotor electric motor, driving the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission.

Kenworth’s hydrogen fuel cell T680 is expected to be ready for initial track and on-road testing in the fourth quarter of this year.

Kenworth also recently began building a T680 day cab hybrid truck powered by a Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero NOx engine running on compressed natural gas to generate electricity. The two T680 tractors will be identical with the exception of the power generation systems. Each truck will have an electric-only range of about 30 miles, and the onboard fuel will provide sufficient range for a full day in regional haul applications, according to Kenworth.

“Within the next decade, hybrid-electric powertrains are expected to be required to satisfy emissions regulations in several major U.S. metropolitan areas." – Patrick Dean, Kenworth chief engineer

A third project received $4.8 million in funding from the California Air Resources Board with the South Coast Air Quality Management District as the prime applicant. Kenworth will build four additional, hybrid-electric T680 day cabs equipped with the Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero NOx engine operating on CNG, and will also support customer field tests of these units in Southern California drayage operations.

Kenworth will build its first unit for this project in 2018. Kenworth engineers will be able to make design and system refinements to this 2018 unit based on data collected from this year’s real-world testing of the initial, 2017 hybrid-electric T680. All six prototypes will transport freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and railyards in the Los Angeles basin.

“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 chief engineer. “Within the next decade, hybrid-electric powertrains are expected to be required to satisfy emissions regulations in several major U.S. metropolitan areas. For example, California is considering regulations that will require zero-emission levels for port drayage trucks operating in specifically designated areas.”

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