By: James Menzies
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kenworth, Peterbilt and Navistar all introduced new truck models today, on the eve of the Mid-America Trucking Show.
Kenworth came out with a new T680, which the company boldly claimed is 10% more aerodynamic than the current best-in-class truck model, resulting in a 5% fuel economy improvement. The truck was designed to last 1.5 million miles.
Kenworth officials said the new truck, with an 83-inch wide cab, can provide an operational savings of up to $4,000 per year over its existing models, which it already claims to be the best when it comes to fuel economy.
“Simply put, the Kenworth T680 is Kenworth’s most aerodynamic truck ever,” said Preston Feight, Kenworth chief engineer. “The T680 is designed to smoothly slice through the air, setting an industry standard for aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.”
Other features include: excellent forward lighting; a 30% larger door; a cab that’s 40% quieter compared to today’s offerings; and 65% more interior storage.
During a demonstration, the large door closed with a subtle ‘swoosh,’ prompting Feight to giddily declare: “This is an incredibly capable door; just the sound of it is beautiful.”
On first glance, the entry into the sleeper cab has been noticeably widened. The passenger seat swivels a full 180-degrees and can be used as a comfortable place from which to work on the foldout desk. The dash has been reconfigured to accommodate a ‘Driver Performance Centre’ with a five-inch configurable display, visible through the steering wheel.
Kenworth says it will issue performance alerts, not through fault codes, but rather “statements in English about what is wrong with the truck and what to do with it.”
The new truck, Feight says, will “change the way people will use the inside of the truck,” from a driving, working and living perspective. The sleeper cab has a full-length wardrobe closet and boasts eight feet of headroom. The new model will commence production on May 21, Kenworth announced. Truck News executive editor James Menzies will have a chance to drive the new T680 today and will file a full report soon thereafter.
Also new at MATS was the Peterbilt Model 579, an “all-new” model that the company says was five years in the making and one of its most momentous new product introductions ever.
“The all-new 579 goes beyond meeting a market demand for an exceptional vehicle that satisfies both the bottom line and operator expectations,” said Bill Kozek, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar vice-president. “The 579 integrates legendary Peterbilt quality and innovation with a product platform that delivers in every aspect of vehicle performance, productivity and safety. From optimized cab dimensions to an enhanced chassis design, and from driver amenities to a revamped electrical system – every design element of the 579 was analyzed and engineered to provide real-world benefits and business solutions that exceed industry trends.”
The new truck boasts a 2.1-metre wide aluminum cab and three-piece bumper for cost-effective repairs. The hood is also comprised of three parts for simple repairs, and Peterbilt said it incorporates the company’s most efficient tilt assist system that requires only 25 lbs of effort to lift.
Production of the new model will commence in May.
On the more specialized end of the scale, Navistar introduced a new Class 8 severe-service low cab forward International LoadStar.
The market represents only 6,000 to 8,000 units in North America, Jim Hebe, senior vice-president of sales operations said during a press conference here. However, he said Navistar is dedicated to the market and designed the LoadStar from the ground up, including the industry’s first stainless steel cab installed at the factory level.
The stainless steel cab will minimize corrosion and increase durability, the company claims, and variable depth frame rails will result in greater durability, lighter weight, lower frame rail heights and better ride characteristics, the company says.
“We talked to drivers to better understand their needs and what is missing from the trucks they drive,” said Hebe. “To fit driver needs, we optimized the space in the cab, increased seat and steering wheel movement, and adjusted joystick placement to deliver an outstanding ergonomic and customizable work environment.”
The LoadStar will be available for orders in October.
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