For heavy-duty truck manufacturer Kenworth, adoption of zero-emission trucks is seen as inevitable—the shift is being driven by both regulatory requirements and economic benefits. Speaking at a recent press event, Kenworth executives outlined the company’s electrification strategy, which includes investigating both battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
As Fleet Owner reports, 17 US states and Canada have signed on to a memorandum of understanding that sets a goal for 30% of Class 7-8 tractors to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, and for all commercial vehicles to be ZEVs by 2040.
“From a regulatory standpoint, all arrows are pointing toward zero emissions,” said Stephan Olsen, Kenworth’s General Sales Manager of Fleet and Specialty Markets. The company predicts that production of electric trucks in North America will grow exponentially in the coming years, from 40,000 unites 2028 to over 160,000 by 2040. “In the 2030s and 2040s, we’re in real volumes, tens of thousands,” Olsen said, “and this is where we will begin to see the economies of scale helping out with the costs, with the infrastructure development.”
Jamin Swazo, Director of Marketing Communications, said that EVs can offer fleets savings of as much as 50% in energy costs and 30% in maintenance costs.
“There’s no technology we know today that’s going to serve all those customers and meet their expectations for range, refueling or recharging time, and then the payload capacity as well,” said Stephan Olsen. “That’s why Kenworth is investing in both [battery-electric and fuel cell] technologies.”
Kenworth currently offers the Class 6 K270E and Class 7 K370E cab-over electric trucks, which are designed for local distribution and last-mile applications, as well as the Class 8 T680E, aimed at regional haul and drayage applications.
Kenworth’s T680 is a Class 8 tractor powered by twin Toyota hydrogen fuel cells. It has a 300-mile range and can refuel in 15 minutes. It has been piloted at the Port of Los Angeles, but is not yet available for order.
Kenworth parent company Paccar partners with Schneider Electric and EnTech Solutions for its charging infrastructure needs. Company execs noted that fleets are bringing their charging ‘behind the fence,’ in effect becoming energy providers and creating additional revenue streams.
Source: Fleet Owner