Truck manufacturer, Kenworth, is displaying its new zero-emission Kenworth T680 day cab equipped with a hydrogen (H2) fuel cell at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The vehicle is part of the Zero Emission Cargo Transport (ZECT) demonstration project managed through Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The Kenworth T680 day cab’s fuel cell combines compressed H2 gas and air to produce electricity with only water vapour emitted at the tailpipe. This electricity can power the dual-rotor electric motor to move the truck, or it can recharge the lithium-ion batteries for use later. The hybrid drive system manages the power from the fuel cell to and from the batteries, as well as the traction motors and other components, such as the electrified power steering and brake air compressor.

Stephan Olsen, Kenworth Director of Product Planning, said, “Kenworth’s H2 fuel-cell T680 is a reality,” he enthused. “The T680 has been running trials in the Seattle area and performing very well. The next step is real-world testing with Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI) at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California.”

According to Olsen, the H2 fuel-cell based Kenworth T680 will have an initial range of 150 miles, which makes it ideal for short haul and port operations. With a dual-rotor traction motor output of 565 horsepower, the truck is capable of carrying the legal gross combination weight of a Class 8 vehicle.

“Our testing shows that this truck performs equally as well, if not better than, current diesel trucks on the market,” said Olsen. “There is a lot of promise, and we see the day where Kenworth’s zero and near-zero emission trucks could be a common sight in regional operations. Kenworth is heavily focused on the evaluation and development of both zero and near-zero emission solutions for the trucking industry,” Olsen said.

Kenworth is supported by $2.8m in funding under a larger grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) being the prime applicant. Project oversight is provided by the Centre for Transportation and the Environment (CTE).

Kenworth is also working on a second project under the larger programme for DOE and SCAQMD to develop a near-zero emission- capable T680 day cab using a near-zero natural gas engine and generator to extend the battery range.