Kenworth electric trucks go on sale, with range up to 200 miles

Kenworth announced Friday that it is launching medium-duty electric delivery trucks. Two variants—the K270E (Class 6) and K370E (Class 7)—are currently available to order in the United States and Canada.

Battery packs of 141 kilowatt-hours and 282 kwh are available, with estimated ranges of 100 miles and 200 miles, respectively. DC fast charging is standard, along with Level 2 AC charging Kenworth suggests would be useful for overnight end-of-shift charging.

Electric motors producing 355 horsepower or 469 horsepower are available. Kenworth said both motors produce enough torque to start a loaded truck on a 20% grade, and maintain 40 mph on a 6% grade.

The motor and other powertrain components are located under the cab, where a diesel engine would normally be, while the battery pack is split into sections mounted behind the cab, along the frame.

Kenworth K270E electric truck

Kenworth K270E electric truck

Kenworth has been a partner with Toyota, in putting fuel-cell-powered semis to work in Los Angeles port duty. These larger trucks were designed for so-called “drayage” duty, moving cargo within the port. The two companies announced a fleet of 10 trucks in 2019, but haven’t discussed large-scale production.

Prior to these projects, Kenworth’s green projects were focused around diesel hybrids. In 2009, Kenworth delivered a prototype diesel-hybrid truck to the New York Department of Sanitation. The prototype was not used as a garbage truck, although in the ensuing decade a handful of companies have shown battery-electric garbage trucks.

Although some of these trucks will be used for local deliveries only, others might be used for regional hauling. Earlier this year a group of utilities came together to outline a West Coast electric highway for commercial electric trucks.

The trucks will also fit in with a growing mandate for more electric trucks. California in June ramped up requirements for commercial trucks to go electric starting in 2024, with new trucks all-EV by 2045.

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