HILO, HAWAII - The state's first Kenworth medium-duty diesel-electric hybrid truck to enter service in Hawaii was delivered recently to the Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (HELCO).
"We're ready to save fuel with our new Kenworth T370 hybrid-utility truck, part of our dedication to provide clean energy to the residents of Hawaii," said Kelvin Kohatsu, fleet administrator for the HELCO. "The State of Hawaii gets about 9 percent of its power from renewable energy sources compared to the mainland average of only 2 percent. On the Big Island of Hawaii, about 32 percent of the energy on the grid comes from renewable energy sources. We're committed to using green technology that will help preserve what we have here on the Islands."
HELCO began purchasing Kenworth trucks several years ago. The company's fleet includes 65 Class 7 and 8 trucks, including a number of Kenworth medium duty trucks and Kenworth T800 bucket and crane trucks.
"Their performance sold us on the quality, durability and reliability of Kenworth and set the stage for us to buy a hybrid. When the cost of fuel began to spike, we were ready with an order. From a fuel savings alone, we expect to save upwards of 50 percent with the Kenworth hybrid," said Kohatsu.
The new Kenworth T370 hybrid was purchased through NorCal Kenworth - Bay Area in California with body work performed by Altec Industries. The hybrid is equipped as a bucket truck with the power takeoff (PTO) powered by the hybrid's battery pack. "We expect to run the truck up to 30,000 miles a year and we'll have a lot of stop-and-go city driving. Since we won't have to run the engine to power the boom, we'll really save on our fuel bill. A hybrid really works well in the utility industry," said Kohatsu.
The Kenworth T370 hybrid is powered by a 300-hp PACCAR PX-6 engine, and features an integral transmission-mounted motor/generator, a frame-mounted 340-volt battery pack and a dedicated power management system. Electricity generated through regenerative braking is stored and used for acceleration, assisting the diesel engine. The hybrid system is monitored through a dash display. As the power requirements for different driving conditions change, the screen constantly updates the driver on system status.
HELCO featured the Kenworth hybrid at a recent open house for businesses and municipalities interested in learning about the technology. "We're hoping others in Hawaii will adopt this technology. Since HELCO is the first in Hawaii to use a Kenworth hybrid, we felt we could help educate others. Our peers have started to understand what a hybrid could do to save fuel and be good to our environment."
According to Kohatsu, he expects many more hybrids for HELCO in the years to come. "We feel that the hybrids are exciting and proven technology. As we grow and replace vehicles, we'll look at adding hybrids in applications where they make sense. The hybrid is just one more piece of our arsenal to be green," Kohatsu said.