Kenworth adds fuel-saving technologies to new trucks

Kenworth adds fuel-saving technologies to new trucks

Maxwell ultracapacitor system supports engine start module.

March 26, 2015

Louisville, Kentucky – Kenworth will provide a dedicated engine start module and an inverter for increased performance on new trucks to improve electrical system performance. The truck maker will also offer a new inverter/charger option for easier battery recharging while parked and an automatic battery monitoring and engine startup module for the Kenworth Idle Management System.

Ultracapacitor-based engine start module: The engine start module (ESM) as a factory-installed option for new Kenworth T680s and T880s. Providing dedicated power to start the truck, the ESM frees the truck’s standard batteries to focus on powering accessory devices such as a laptop, microwave, refrigerator, and television electronics in addition to the truck’s electronics and lights.

Produced by Maxwell Technologies Inc., the ESM is designed to start an engine in temperatures from -40°F to 149°F, even when the batteries have low voltage. Ultracapacitors store power electrostatically, not electrochemically as batteries do.

Kenworth dealers have offered the ESM as an aftermarket solution since 2011, but the new system will be a factory installed option.

Dr. Franz Fink, president and CEO of Maxwell, says, "With our partnership with Kenworth to offer this technology in new trucks, customers can immediately benefit from this cost-effective option to reduce downtime and maintenance costs caused by discharged batteries."

Inverter/Charger: Kenworth’s enhanced 1,800W inverter provides drivers with AC power in the sleeper to run appliances, entertainment systems, and other devices.

“Inverters are really a popular option, and aid in driver comfort,” says Kevin Baney, Kenworth chief engineer. “It’s so much more convenient to run everyday products on AC-power versus DC. The benefit is that drivers can operate more systems and devices with the inverter’s better performance in handling high-amp loads.”

According to Baney, the inverter includes charging capability – something new that Kenworth is offering. “You can plug the truck into shore power at a truck stop, at home, or at a terminal and run all your hotel loads while charging the batteries,” he says. “A control panel in the sleeper provides on/off switching, plus battery status.”

The inverter is mounted on the rear wall in the sleeper storage compartment – giving clear toolbox access and additional outlets through the toolbox door. The new inverter is optional for the Kenworth Idle Management System with the T680 76-inch sleeper.

Kenworth Idle Management System auto start and stop: A battery-based auxiliary power unit (APU) system for air conditioning integrated directly into the Kenworth T680’s ducting system, the idle management system is designed to keep the cab and sleeper comfortable for up to 10 hours. An optional fuel-fired heater provides full engine-off heating capability.

“Later this year, we will add an engine auto start and stop function for the Kenworth Idle Management System to provide automatic battery monitoring and engine startup when battery levels reach their minimum state,” says Baney. “This allows the batteries to be recharged while air conditioning and hotel loads are still being utilized. Once batteries are sufficiently charged, the system shuts down the engine and runs once again on pure battery power.”

Source: Kenworth Truck Co.