Kenworth Offers Test Drives of New Natural Gas Vehicles
By Neil Abt, News Editor
This story appears in the July 30 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
KIRKLAND, Wash. — Kenworth Truck Co. continued its push into the natural gas market, providing journalists and customers an opportunity earlier this month to test multiple models with engines that run on the fuel that’s garnering significant attention from the trucking industry.
A July 19 media event included the first formal test drives of a Kenworth model T660 featuring a Cummins Westport ISX12G compressed natural gas engine, as well as the T440 truck with a Cummins Westport ISL-G liquefied natural gas engine.
Speaking at a press event the next day at Kenworth’s headquarters here, Andy Douglas, national sales manager for specialty markets, cited a number of industry studies suggesting that natural gas could account for as many as one in 10 heavy-duty trucks being produced in the United States by 2016.
While suggesting those figures could prove to be a little too ambitious, he said natural gas “demand has never been higher.”
In all, eight different trucks were available for testing at the Paccar Technical Center in Mount Vernon, Wash., about 60 miles from Seattle. Most of the trucks were in final testing and would soon be delivered to customers.
Included were T680 day cab and sleeper cab with Paccar MX diesel engines, which the company unveiled early this year at the Mid-America Trucking Show and announced in late May had started production at its plant in Chillicothe, Ohio (6-4, p. 12).
Paccar Inc. is the parent of Kenworth and Peterbilt Motors Co.
In the days prior to the press event, Douglas and Preston Feight, assistant general manager for sales and marketing, said Kenworth had hosted dozens of current and potential customers, providing them a similar opportunity to test-drive the different engines.
Several major natural gas suppliers also were included, providing a direct forum for them to share their infrastructure plans with trucking fleets.
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