Expect increased space and a more aerodynamic ride
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