Kenworth’s latest, production-ready T680E electric semi truck made its debut earlier this week at the PACCAR CES display in Las Vegas. Make no mistake, this K Whopper is ready to work with 670 hp and an absolutely massive battery to give it 150 mi. of range – but that’s just the headline, and it gets more impressive from there. Read on!

Even in the context of my Old school trucking Facebook group (really), the specs on this Kenworth are a little bit unbelievable. For comparison, the “standard” Kenworth T680 is powered by an enormous, thoroughly modern, 12.9 liter, Holset-turbocharged inline-6 cylinder MX-13 diesel engine that puts out 405 peak horsepower – that’s fully two-hundred-and-sixty-five fewer hp than the T680E.

The big, PACCAR-built MX-13 loses out on torque, too, making 1550 lb-ft in standard trim, compared to the 1,623 lb-ft of the T680E. Want more? In the T680E, ALL of that twist is available at 0 (zero) rpm.

That power and torque is on tap courtesy of Meritor’s 14Xe “epowertrain”, which integrate motors and axles into a single unit, making it easy for manufacturers to electrify their fleets by maintaining existing (re: ICE) axle mounting hardware “for ease of OEM integration”. If you’re having trouble picturing that, spend two minutes and thirty seconds of your life watching this Meritor video. It’s a bit self-serving, sure, but it effectively communicates the ideas behind the epowertrain better than (my) words can.

Meritor electric axles explained, courtesy Meritor.

You might think, from watching the video, that there would be a lot of room for batteries between the Kenworth T680E frame rails. You’d be right – this truck is packing an impossibly huge 396 kWh that can, using PACCAR’s existing high-speed charging stations (which use the industry-standard SAE CCS1 charging port), be fully charged in about 3 hours.

For their part, Kenworth management seems pretty proud of their new electric baby. “Kenworth is leading the way in zero emissions solutions,” Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president Kevin Baney said, in a release. “The Kenworth T680E builds upon Kenworth’s excellent heritage of providing fleets and truck operators with outstanding and productive trucks driven by quality, innovation and technology.”

Kenworth T680E at CES, courtesy PACCAR.

The new Kenworth T680E is available in day cab, as either a tractor or straight truck, in a 6×4 axle configuration with an 82,000 lb. GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). The new Class 8 truck joins the Class 7 K370E and Class 6 K270E electric semi trucks in Kenworth’s growing line-up of zero emission work vehicles. Call your dealer to spec one out.

Electrek’s Take

I may be a new addition to the masthead around here, but I learn quick – and I’ve already learned that writing anything that could even be conceived as “anti-Tesla” is treading on dangerous ground. That said, while Tesla seems to be really good at selling electric semi trucks, it seems to still be having trouble actually delivering those electric semi trucks.

Kenworth, meanwhile, has electric semis in customers’ hands. So, too, do Mack, Volvo, and Freightliner, while Hyundai began deliveries of its HFC trucks in Korean and European markets back 2020. And, while it’s still early days, the legacy brands seem like they’re starting to feel pretty confident in their lead.

Maybe a bit too confident.

Source | Photos: PACCAR, via Kenworth.

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