Kenworth Truck Company recently announced a new, fuel-efficient version of their T680 76-inch sleeper, which uses truck-generated power to keep long-haul drivers in comfortable temperatures during engine-off rest periods and delivers up to 5% more fuel efficiency than the standard T680 model.
According to a company news release, this is how it works: “The factory-installed Kenworth Idle Management System stores power from the Kenworth T680’s engine in four dedicated PACCAR batteries to provide air conditioning directly through the Kenworth T680’s ducting system during the driver’s rest period. An optional fuel-fired heater provides full engine-off heating capability.”
The system features full on-board controls in the sleeper, so once the truck is shut down, the driver simply uses the control panel to adjust both cooling and heating temperatures. An LCD display gives drivers full system information including remaining battery power. The batteries recharge to almost full capacity in under 5 hours.
John Edmunds, president and CEO of HillCrest Transportation, which operates seven T680s 76-inch sleepers, says the Kenworth Idle Management System is not only better for the environment, but provides a more cost-effective alternative than APUs.
“The system helps us avoid maintenance costs associated with a diesel-powered APU engine. And, by combining this technology with the fuel economy performance of the T680 and the PACCAR MX-13 engine, we save even more money,” he stated.
Edmunds said that the annual savings the Kenworth Idle Management System generates in fuel costs more than pays for the cost of the system.
“Some drivers are already getting 7.1 to 7.2 mpg with the T680. Since our trucks in the dry van operation pull fully loaded boxes in both directions, getting that kind of fuel economy, particularly when we were struggling to get better than 5 mpg with other trucks on the same routes, is pretty phenomenal. Each T680 is saving us more than $20,000 per year in fuel costs,” he said.
According to Brian Wanner, general manager for Peters Brothers which operates four T680s, drivers of the company travel for a week to 10 days, spending extended time in their T680 trucks in states as such as California, which incorporate stringent no-idling restrictions. Truckers needed a way to stay comfortable during rest periods when temperatures are scorching, and the T680 delivers.
“The Kenworth Idle Management System provides them the same amount of comfort they get with APUs,” Wanner said. “The system maintains the temperature at a comfortable level for a full rest period even in the hottest weather. It recharges quickly. And before the weather turned warmer, our drivers used the fuel-fired heaters and they worked great.”
He said the drivers say they enjoy the ride too, reporting that the cab is quiet, comfortable and offers plenty of room.