LOUISVILLE, KY. Two new application-specific truck models - a “regional hauler configuration” of the Class 8 T660 tractor and first 6x6 configuration for the T370 medium-duty model - were unveiled by Kenworth Truck Co. here at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The OEM also announced new options and detailed its “industry leadership in providing environmentally friendly products with excellent performance that can help truck operators enhance fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.”

According to chief engineer Preston Feight, the T660 regional hauler configuration boasts shorter wheelbases, tighter chassis packaging, enhanced maneuverability and weight savings. He stressed those benefits were attained without sacrificing the same fuel-tank capacity as a T660 with forward chassis fairings.

“This new Kenworth T660 option is especially useful for regional haulers interested in operating aerodynamic trucks to help increase fuel efficiency and reduce fuel costs,” said Feight. “The regional hauler configuration offers the same styling and lighting advantages – and similar aerodynamic advantages – as the standard T660 with the maneuverability and fuel capacity of the Kenworth T800.”

The new configuration removes the standard under-cab chassis fairing and replaces it with a cab-mounted extension of the hood fender. Accordingly, said Feight, this allows larger diameter 24.5-in. and 28.5-in. fuel tanks to fit under the cab. Previously, only 22.5-in. tanks fit in that space.

As a result, he explained, the new configuration gains significant wheelbase reductions, while maintaining the same under-cab fuel tank capacities of 75, 100 or 120 gals. offered by the standard T660 configuration with forward chassis fairings and 22.5-in. diameter fuel tank. With the T660 regional hauler configuration, the use of a 24.5-in. diameter fuel tank can reduce the wheelbase by up to 19 in., while a 28.5-in. diameter fuel tank provides a potential wheelbase reduction of up to 34 in.

The regional configuration also reduces weight by at least 250 lbs. compared to a comparably equipped Kenworth T660 with forward fairings - providing the truck with more payload carrying capacity. And, Feight pointed out, in cases, where wheelbase is not critical to an operation, the customer can order the same wheelbase as with a standard T660 configuration, but with a higher fuel capacity for traveling longer distances between fuel-ups.

He noted that regional haulers also can benefit from the model’s forward lighting system that features standard halogen-projector headlamps that project 40% more light down the road than a sealed beam lamp and last three times longer. He said an optional high intensity discharge (HID) setup provides 75% more light and lasts 11 times longer than sealed beam lamps.

Video: Feight discusses the new T660

Feight said the T370 6x6 boasts a factory-installed front drive axle available in ratings ranging from 10,000 lbs. to 16,000 lbs. The 6x6 will be equipped with a 40,000 lb.-rated rear suspension. Initially, the Chalmers series 854-40 suspension will be offered, followed by the addition of the Hendrickson Primaax EX rear air suspension later this year. T370 6x6 customers can choose either the Paccar PX-6 or PACCAR PX-8 engine. He noted that the T370 6x6 “builds upon the 4x4 configuration introduced for the T270 and T370” in 2010.

“This new [medium-duty] offering will benefit operators running utility service, construction, oilfield service and boom trucks, in addition to municipal applications, such as fire and emergency vehicles,” added Feight. “Customers get a great medium-duty truck for applications that require a heavier front axle and tandem rear axle to get the job done.”

Turning to the world of trucking that’s turning green, Bill Kozek, Kenworth general manager & Paccar vice president, said the OEM’s “diverse product offering is enabling a growing number of environmentally conscious fleets and truck operators to drive the green highway. We applaud those customers who have added Kenworth aerodynamic, natural gas and diesel-electric hybrid trucks and adopted the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliant engines as part of their efforts to reduce diesel fuel consumption and emissions.”

Kozek noted that Kenworth is the only truck manufacturer to receive the EPA’s Clean Air Excellence award in recognition of its environmentally friendly products. He said Kenworth’s green offerings include the aerodynamic T660 and T700; T440 and W900S liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) models; T800 LNG trucks; and Kenworth T270 and T370 diesel-electric hybrids.

As for diesels, Kozek pointed out that the OEM has been “very pleased with customer response to the [proprietary] Paccar MX engine. Orders for Kenworth trucks with the MX are up about 60% compared to last year. Many customers now view the Paccar MX engine as an engine developed and built with their drive cycles in mind.” The MX is offered in ratings spanning 380 to 485 hp. and torque of up to 1,750 lbs.-ft. on selected Kenworth Class 8 models.

The OEM also announced it will offer a new line of proprietary seats exclusively in the T700 Class 8 tractor. The new Kenworth GT701, GT702, and GT703 seats offer a range of options and features, including an advanced air suspension system that can automatically adjust to the weight of the driver. It also offers an adjustable shock that provides drivers with a full range of height adjustments.

All GT700 series seats offer optional heating while the GT703 adds the option for cooling with premium leather covering. The GT703 also comes with an exclusive upper back adjustability feature that provides improved shoulder and neck support over a wide range of recline angles.

“The Kenworth GT700 series seats are made to Kenworth specifications and provide drivers the ability to fine-tune their ride experience,” noted Feight. “The driver seat is something truck fleets and operators can’t afford to ignore since it’s a critical component in helping drivers stay comfortable, alert and focused while driving.”