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Kenworth rolls out over-the-air updates, showcases hydrogen fuel cell truck


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Fleet Owner  /  October 29, 2019

ATLANTA – Kenworth Truck Co. introduced its TruckTech+ over-the-air program, allowing for easy updates of PACCAR MX engine and aftertreatment software. The company made the announcement during a press conference at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show. 

The program will begin in December for select customers, with a full roll out scheduled for early 2020. The updates are for Kenworth Class 8 trucks equipped with 2017 or later model year PACCAR MX-13 and MX-11 engines. 

“It is important to quickly provide customers with the latest engine updates and calibrations that promote enhanced fuel economy and performance,” said Kevin Baney, general manager of Kenworth. 

When a truck is parked, a member of the fleet’s maintenance team or driver holds down the cruise control set switch for five seconds, and the download begins through a secure cloud server. The updates generally take less than 30 minutes, and can be accomplished when the truck is parked. 

Baney, a long time Kenworth veteran who took over as general manager this summer, estimated North American truck sales would finish between 310,000 and 320,000 units for 2019. He projected sales to dip next year to between 230,000 and 260,000 as fleets return to a “normal replacement” cycle. 

In recent months there have been a small cutback in build rates at the plant in Chillicothe, OH., as the overheated market has started to normalize.

During the NACV press conference, Baney outlined a slew of product updates, including that new features of Bendix Wingman Fusion advanced driver assistance system will be standard for the T680, and optional for the T880 and T270 and T370 models. The updated features include includes highway departure braking (HDB) and multi-lane emergency braking (AEB).

Kenworth is planning a new customer program that includes personalized care, and a web portal with connectivity to their support team, instant access to product information, truck performance data, service history and maintenance information. 

“We’re aiming to set a new industry standard for customer care and support,” said Baney. 

He also said more than 26,000 fleet trucks are now participating in Kenworth TruckTech+ Service Management. Through PACCAR Parts, fleets with 100 trucks or more receive a line of credit as well as preferred and consistent parts pricing. It also provides real-time visibility on repair status. 

In addition, Kenworth said the PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission will incorporate new MX engine-optimized shift calibrations, beginning in January. Designed for applications up to 110,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight, the expanded transmission availability is intended for Kenworth T880s that travel mainly on paved roads and occasionally operate off-highway on maintained dirt or gravel roads.

The T880 also now comes standard with the PACCAR 20K front axle, which enhances steering efficiency and load carrying capacity. It is available with ratings of 20,000 or 22,000 lbs. 

For the W990, additional chrome options are available through PACCAR Parts. Customers can customize the W990 from a selection of more than 80 chrome and lighting options, as well as 430 bumper options.

At its booth in the NACV exhibit hall, Kenworth displayed off one of the its hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks. Toyota is providing fuel cell stacks, hydrogen tanks and other components on the Kenworth T680. 

Five of the planned 10 vehicles have been built. The first one to enter real-world service is going to Toyota Logistics Services by the end of the year and will operate at the Port of Los Angeles. Others are being placed into service by UPS Inc., Toyota Logistics, TTSI and Southern Counties Express.  

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