The next generation

| May 31, 2007

With no turnaround opportunities in sight and no driver’s road atlas, I wound up westbound on state highway 532 en route to Camano Island State Park. The snow had tapered off, but tourist traffic was thickening, and parking lot after parking lot was too full for a U-turn.
Finally, a mostly empty country club parking lot appeared on the left. The T660 politely idled in, smartly pivoted 180 degrees on the trailer tandems and rolled back out onto 532.

When you miss a turn, it helps to be in a truck with a defroster that melts snow off the windshield; good wipers and mirror heaters for maximum visibility; sure-footed maneuverability in close quarters, especially when fully loaded; responsiveness in suburban traffic; and a turning radius that allows tight U-turns.

My next highway test-drive was also a silver pearl T660, but with a 72-inch sleeper and a 500-horsepower Cummins ISX with 1,650 lb.-ft. torque and coupled with an Eaton 14-speed Ultrashift. The route was much shorter: west on Highway 20 over Deception Pass – a narrow two-lane bridge with sharp curves at both ends – and down to Oak Harbor for a U-turn and the drive back.

This T660 had Kenworth’s Clean Power auxiliary power system, introduced in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Kenworth powers the system with four deep-cycle batteries, anticipating Environmental Protection Agency regulation of exhaust from diesel- or gas-burning APUs, says Kenworth’s Advanced Technology Manager John Duffy, one of the APU’s designers. Most fossil fuel APUs use about a half-gallon of fuel an hour, but Kenworth’s Clean Power uses none, maximizing fuel savings.

Clean Power is mounted beneath the bunk and has a simple design: a fan and cooling coils.

Duffy says it can cool the sleeper to 75 degrees for up to 10 hours, even with a television, refrigerator and coffee maker in use. Both the lower and upper folding bunks have Clean Power controls. Cut-off switches prevent it from draining power from the batteries, which recharge to full strength when the engine is running.

To maximize efficiency, Kenworth insulated the cab and replaced standard interior incandescent bulbs with power-saving LEDs: a first in the industry, Duffy says.

T660 “Pendleton” Specs
Tractor: Kenworth T660 86-Inch Studio Aerocab w/ Pendleton Interior
Engine: 2007 Caterpillar C15 475 hp 1,650 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: Eaton 13-speed Ultrashift
Drive Axle: Dana DSP40
Axle Ratio: 3.55 – 1
Front Axle: Dana Spicer E-1202I
Front Suspension: Taper leaf w/ shock absorbers
Rear Suspension: Kenworth AG380 52-inch spread
Front Brakes: Bendix Air Disc
Rear Brakes: Bendix ES S-Cam 16.5 X 7 dual
Front Tires: Bridgestone R287 295/75R22.5
Rear Tires: Bridgestone M720FE 295/75R22.5
Batteries: PACCAR 2800cca dual purpose
Alternator: PACCAR brushless 130-amp
Starter: PACCAR 105P 12-volt
Compressor: Caterpillar 270 16.1 cubic feet per minute
Exhaust: Diesel particulate filter & single, vertical 54-inch chrome tailpipe
Fuel Tanks: 120-gallon polished aluminum
Paint: Silver Pearl
Wheelbase: 240 inches

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