Kenworth's SuperTruck 2 Redefines Semi Truck Standards

by AutoExpert   |  23 May, 2024

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At the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, Kenworth unveiled their SuperTruck 2. As part of a Department of Energy program, Kenworth created this latest eco-friendly semi. The Kenworth SuperTruck 2 “pushes the limits in reducing aerodynamic drag.”

That’s why the model has streamlined styling, fully enclosed wheels, digital side mirrors, a sleek greenhouse, and expressive lighting units. Inside, there’s a central driver seat and a 15-inch digital instrument cluster.

Kenworth SuperTruck 2

This digital instrument cluster promises to provide advanced driver notifications, a configurable layout, and user-friendly menus. Behind the cockpit, there is a sleeping area with a bed that folds down over a sofa. A movable table and rear air vents connect them.

A PACCAR MX-11 engine, producing 440 hp, provides power and incorporates a 48V mild hybrid system that utilizes next-generation lithium-ion batteries. The latter allowed for the installation of electric fans, electric steering, and electric coolant and HVAC pumps on the truck. Previously, Kenworth noted that the engine fan alone could draw up to 80 hp.

Kenworth SuperTruck 2

Besides helping to improve efficiency, the hybrid system allows for overnight ‘hoteling’ with the engine off. This could help to significantly reduce emissions, as truck drivers wouldn’t need to keep their vehicles running while they catch some shuteye. Maarten Meijer, PACCAR’s senior engineering manager for advanced technology, said, “Today’s modern diesel engine demonstrates around 47% efficiency. Only the application of new technologies, unexplored until today, could achieve the significant advancement of 55.7% efficiency. To put that efficiency number into perspective, if this engine were to go into production, it would lead to a 10% fuel efficiency improvement.”

Kenworth SuperTruck 2

Ten concept tires, which cut 355 lbs (161 kg) of weight and have an extremely low rolling resistance, help reduce mass. The more efficient engine also allowed for the use of a smaller 80-gallon (303-liter) fuel tank, which saves weight while also keeping the range unchanged. Kenworth was targeting a 100% freight efficiency improvement over the 2009 T660, which was "arguably the most fuel-efficient truck in the industry" at the time, and they ended up exceeding that goal by hitting a 136% improvement.

Kenworth SuperTruck 2

The model also improves fuel efficiency by up to 12.8 mpg and reduces drag by 48%. Despite being diesel-powered, the company designed the SuperTruck 2 to accommodate fuel cells, hydrogen tanks, natural gas tanks, or batteries without altering the basic cab. Kenworth general manager Jim Walenczak added, “SuperTruck 2 provided us with the opportunity to investigate new technologies at an early stage. We learned what worked and what didn’t. As a result, we are able to commercialize new technologies much quicker than we would have otherwise.”

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