Spacey truck­ing

Ex­pect in­creased space and a more aero­dy­namic ride

Herald Sun - Motoring - - What’s On -

bolted to­gether with spe­cial riv­ets, the new cab uses stamped alu­minium.

‘‘ It’s a huge step for­ward,’’ Ken­worth Aus­tralia prod­uct de­vel­op­ment man­ager Brad May says. ‘‘ A stamped alu­minium cab is just like what you’d find in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.’’

The new cab is far stronger and lighter than ex­ist­ing bolted-to­gether cabs, mean­ing doors fit bet­ter, among other ad­van­tages. Ken­worth says the doors, es­pe­cially the way they feel when shut, were mod­elled to mimic the feel of a BMW.

‘‘ It feels like (shut­ting) a vault,’’ Ken­worth chief en­gi­neer Pre­ston Feight says.

May says there is ev­ery chance the cast alu­minium cab of the T680 could find its way into Aus­tralian Ken­worths.

‘‘ It is cer­tainly one of those things that we would take a good look at.’’

The new cab is much larger than the ver­sion it re­places and its width in­creases from 1.9m to 2.1m. It was de­signed with both in­te­rior space and aero­dy­nam­ics in mind.

Ken­worth in­tro­duced its first aero truck in 1985, but re­duc­ing drag has been given more promi­nence in the past few years as diesel prices rise and more is made of CO emis­sions.

Ken­worth says its en­gi­neers spent so much time and ef­fort de­vel­op­ing the T680’s slip­pery body that drag was re­duced by a hefty 10 per cent, mak­ing this the most aero­dy­namic truck in the Ken­worth sta­ble.

‘‘ What does that mean to us all?’’ Feight asks. ‘‘ A 10 per cent im­prove­ment in aero­dy­namic per­for­mance is a 5 per cent im­prove­ment in fuel econ­omy. That is about $4000 per truck per year.’’

Ken­worth de­sign­ers took into ac­count ev­ery de­tail when shap­ing the front of the T680.

For ex­am­ple, the wind­screen wipers are tucked in out of the air­flow com­ing off the bon­net and the LED lights on the wheel guards and above the wind­screen sit flush to cut drag.

Ken­worth says it took ad­vice from 75 fleet op­er­a­tors run­ning 100,000 trucks on mak­ing the T680 more af­ford­able to run.

As a re­sult, it came up with two-piece bumpers and sleeper cabs made from mul­ti­ple sec­tions. The idea is that dam­age from mi­nor ac­ci­dents, in­clud­ing low-speed jack­knifes, could be re­paired eas­ily by chang­ing one panel.

The T680’s pas­sen­ger seat spins around and a ta­ble folds down, ef­fec­tively mak­ing a small mo­bile of­fice. There is also a new dash­board lay­out, with de­sign­ers tak­ing spe­cial care to make sure all but­tons and levers are within easy reach of the driver.

The T680 is avail­able in the US with the Pac­car groupMX engine, a 12.9-litre six-cylin­der that pro­duces be­tween 283kW (380hp) and 362kW (485hp) and 1966Nm to 2374Nm. There is a chance this engine could be seen in Aus­tralian Ken­worths in the next few years.

Roomy: The brand­new Ken­worth


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