Paccar Unit Expects Up to 5% of Industry Builds to Be CNG or LNG,
ISX12 G Spurs Demand, with Customers Including Seaboard Foods
Kenworth is expanding its output of natural gas-fueled trucks, both models offered and units produced, with the expectation that the 11.-9-liter, up-to-400-horsepower ISX12 G engine from Cummins Westport will help take the vehicles from the return-to-base sector to the over-the-road market.
Some 4% to 5% of the industry’s heavy duty build this year could be natural gas, Kenworth national sales manager Andy Douglas told reporters following dealer and customer events at the Kenworth factory in Chillicothe, Ohio last week.
The Chillicothe plant currently turns out about 116 trucks per day, said plant manager Scott Blue. It could handle 150. Natural gas models built in Chillicothe include the T440, T660 and T800 (although T800 with the Westport HD with high pressure direct injection 15-liter engine is built in Renton, Wash.).
Fuel Systems Are Done Ex-Factory
Blue’s biggest challenge in natural gas? Running the engines, as all of the natural gas fuel systems for Kenworth trucks are currently installed outside the factory. Given the abundance of fuel system choices, with compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, as well as different providers for both types, “It’s just something that doesn’t fit into the six-minute cycle time tight now,” Blue said.
Eventually that will change. Vocational and other return-to-base vehicles – like concrete mixers – have thus far been the most successful natural gas trucks for Kenworth. But, “All gas engines are up year after year across the while family,” Douglas said.
“This 12-liter mid-block,” he said of the ISX12 G, “fits very well across a wide range of applications.”
Dillon and Monarch
“I haven’t seen anything quite like it in the gas world.”
Kenworth advised truck writers about such customers as Dillon Transport, which will add 25 LNG-fueled Kenworth T800 short hood day cabs powered by the ISX12 G to its 450-plus truck fleet (F&F, May 28); and Monarch Beverage, of Indianapolis, which operates CNG-fueled T440s with the 8.9-liter Cummins Westport ISL G engine, and a pre-production T660 with the ISX12 G, and figures to convert 85% of its fleet to CNG (F&F, December 11).
200 CNG Kenworths for Seaboard?
Kenworth showed a CNG-fueled T800 long-haul day-cab tractor in initial service with Seaboard Foods of Oklahoma City at last month’s ACT Expo 2013 show in Washington, D.C. There, company reps said another 180 natural gas Kenworth vehicles are either on order or under consideration.
The Seaboard trucks are to have CNG fuel systems from Trilogy Engineered Systems capable of holding more than 160 diesel gallon equivalents. Trilogy ES is also supplying 42 ISX12 G-powered T660 trucks to the Fair Oaks Dairy in Indiana, replacing vehicles with the smaller ISL G (F&F, March 26). The Trilogy cylinder arrays are installed by Palmer Trucks in Indianapolis.
The environment, and the desire to be perceived as a sustainable operator, drives some of the decisions. The Fair Oaks trucks, for example, are fueled with biomethane from Fair Oaks cows. But the big driver is cash.
‘It’s Happening Right Now’
“When you are paying an effective rate of $1.50 per diesel gallon equivalent,” says Andy Douglas, “that’s some real money.”
He expressed confidence too in infrastructure growth. “There’s a lot of movement and it’s real movement,” he said in Chillicothe. “It’s not just talk. The brick and mortar is going up.
“It’s been rapid. It’s been coast-to-coast. This is no longer a science project.”
“We have products. We have choice of product. “We have fueling infrastructure that’s coming into place.”
“The reality is, it’s happening right now.”
Kenworth’s new T680 and T880 are built using a new, $17 million robotic assembly cell at Chillicothe, but no decision has yet been made on natural gas variants.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels in Chillicothe, Ohio and at ACT Expo 2013 in Washington, D.C.