Fully electric Class 8 vehicles that can travel along the California coast in a single charge are still off into the future, but that does not mean that electric semi-trucks do not exist now. One example of such a machine is the Kenworth T680E, which will go into production and be for sale at Kenworth dealers in the United States and Canada in the year 2021.
The Kenworth T680E averages 150 miles on a single charge, with variation depending on use (air conditioning, uphill or downhill, etc.). With a 120 kilowatt-hour battery, the machine gets 1.25 miles per kWh, or .8 kWh for each mile.
A standard house outlet, such as one you would plug a computer into, can have an electrical speed limit of 1800 watts (120 volts times 15 amperes). Were someone patient enough to charge the machine this way, it would take 66 hours and 40 minutes to fully charge the T680E.
This is where the Combined Charging System (CSS) comes in. Using a CCS1 DC fast charger to get a rate of around 33.3 kilowatts, the T680E takes 3.3 hours to charge instead.
The short range combined with short charging time makes the T680E optimal for part-time delivery jobs around town. One group of mattress delivery men could work a four hour shift making stops and hauling away old mattresses, the machine goes on charge for 3.3 hours, and then another group works the evening shift, where the truck then charges again overnight for the morning.
The T680E will be available in a 6×4 axle configuration with either a 54,000 or 82,000 pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
For the powertrain, PACCAR has teamed up with Meritor to include Meritor’s Clue Horizon 14Xe tandem electric powertrain (truck manufacturers outsourcing components is not uncommon; Cummins engines being a popular example). The 14Xe has a base power of 536 horsepower, but if you really want to rev the engine, you can up to 670 horsepower with 1,623 pound-feet of torque.
To summarize, here is the specifications listed in an easy-to-read format:
- Average range: 150 miles
- Miles per kilowatt-hour: 1.25
- Axle configuration: 6×4
- GVWR (lbs): 54,000 or 82,000
- Horsepower: 536-670
- Torque (lb-ft): 1623
Kevin Baney, general manager and Paccar vice president, believes the T680E is what fleets with a short travel radius are looking for..“The new Kenworth T680E provides our customers with a true, zero-emissions solution that will help to achieve their own green program objectives, while leveraging the excellent performance, reliability and cab comfort of our current T680 on-highway flagship model.”