LOUISVILLE, KY. Bob Christensen, Kenworth gm & Paccar vp, detailed the OEM’s multifaceted environmental program at a media briefing here today ahead of the Mid-America Trucking Show. Also detailed were new proprietary suspensions that are disc brake-compatible.

He said Kenworth’s comprehensive environmental program is focused on alternative fuels, hybrid technologies, idle reduction, aerodynamic performance and driver awareness technologies. “High diesel fuel prices and new environmental rules will drive innovative new technologies in the commercial vehicle market,” said Christensen. “Kenworth is recognized as a technology leader and we are introducing practical solutions for these market realities.”

Christensen announced that Kenworth will begin full production of medium-duty diesel-electric hybrid trucks this summer. These Class 6 and 7 trucks feature Paccar PX-6 engines and Eaton’s hybrid drive and may qualify for a maximum federal tax credit of $6,000 (Class 6) and $12,000 (Class 7). In addition, he noted the fuel economy benefit for these trucks may be as high as 30% in P&D applications and up to 50% in utility truck operations.

Chief engineer Mike Dozier pointed out that the OEM had announced earlier this year that production of Kenworth T800 trucks powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines would begin in 2009. “A typical LNG truck reduces nitrogen oxide and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 33% and 20%, respectively, compared to a diesel-fueled truck,” he observed. “The Kenworth T800 LNG vehicle also offers outstanding efficiency, horsepower and torque, with a fuel cost of 10 to 15% less.”

Still other recent green developments were pointed to by the Kenworth executives:

  • The Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system is fully compliant with California Air Resources Board (CARB) idling regulations; offers as much as an 8% fuel economy enhancement for customers with high-idling time; and provides drivers with a quiet rest environment.
  • Rolled out last year, the Kenworth T660 is the most aerodynamic model in the company’s 85-yr. history. Aimed at long-haul sleeper applications, the new model is also available in a day cab for regional and heavy hauling operations.
  • The Kenworth Driver Information Center “empowers the driver to enhance fuel economy performance and efficiency by providing instant trip access information” for miles per gallon, engine and idle hours, idle percentage and optimum rpm range.

To showcase its range of environmentally oriented new products for heavy- and medium-duty truck purchasers, Kenworth will hit the road this spring with the Kenworth Clean Technology Tour. It is slated to appear at some 70 events this spring, including several in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) non-attainment areas. On the tour will be a T800 LNG truck, a T270 medium-duty diesel-electric hybrid truck, and an aerodynamic EPA SmartWay-eligible T660 equipped with the CARB-compliant Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system. The tour is expected to run into the fall.

Dozier also detailed a trio of new proprietary Kenworth suspensions for medium- and heavy-duty truck models. He said the AG130 is a proprietary front axle air spring suspension; the AG400L tandem rear suspension “offers a “cost-effective solution for fleets and a smooth ride by using a proven trailing arm design;” and the AG210L single-axle rear suspension is “an economical choice for Kenworth’s Class 6 and Class 7 conventional models.”

Lighter by 20 lbs. vs. traditional 12,000-lb. taperleaf front-end suspensions, the disc brake-compatible AG130 will be available in 12,000- and 13,200-lb. ratings for T660, T800 and T2000 Class 8 models. “We designed and tested the AG130 to handle the high torque braking demands of disc brakes,” said Dozier. “The new suspension system is a perfect spec to improve ride and performance for long-haul applications.”

The disc brake-compatible AG400L is a 40,000-lb. highway rear suspension system for T660, T800, T2000 and W900 Class 8 models. The four-bag suspension supports fifth-wheel height as low as 42 in. It has an 8-1/2 in. ride height, reduces part count and eliminates axle seat welding. “The AG400L is a great choice for customers interested in a smooth ride that do not require the articulation performance of the AG400,” said Dozier.

The AG210L, which is a two-bag version of the AG400L, is a 21,000-lb. rear suspension for the medium-duty T370 and T270. “Medium duty customers appreciate a good single-axle, rear suspension and the AG210L offers a good ride,” Dozier remarked.

For more information, go to www.kenworth.com.

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