Kenworth Trucks introduced a new addition to its model range at the 2012 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. "It's a great honor to proudly introduce the Kenworth T680, which establishes a new standard of excellence in the industry with exceptional styling, superior fuel efficiency, outstanding performance and extraordinary comfort," said Gary Moore, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president. Gary Moore stressed that the T680 is being positioned as an extension of its highway tractor line and not as a replacement for any of its current models. “The T680 gives us a unique opportunity to offer a wider range of cab sizes to our customers,” Moore added. “We have the 1.9-meter T660 cab, the 2.3-meter T700 cab – which is designed for team operation – and now the 2.1-mter T680 cab.”
The T-680, which went into production on May 21, is aimed to address several of what Moore said are critical demands in the trucking industry today: the need for better fuel economy plus better-designed cab interiors to enhance driver productivity and comfort. “Fuel economy is still king,” Moore noted, pointing out that the T680 sports a 10% improvement in aerodynamic design when compared to the T660 – an improvement that translates into 5% better fuel economy, which Feight noted means $4,000 worth of fuel savings per truck per year, with diesel at $4/gal.
The T-680 is being aimed at linehaul, pickup and delivery, and regional freight operators and can be configured with a newly designed 76-in. sleeper or as a day cab. It comes standard with the 12.9L Paccar MX engine, with the Cummins ISX15 engine as an option. The cab is 83 in. wide and sports 23 in. of room between the seats for excellent sleeper ingress and egress with stand-up height in the cab and sleeper designed so a person well over 6-ft. in height could move readily in and out of the seats with ample head room. Altogether the truck’s interior offers 65% more storage capacity, a 50% larger windshield, 40% less interior noise, and 30% larger door openings.
Through customer validation, the T680’s instrument panel is now laid out with an integrated, sweeping “keyboard” surface that mimics the shape of the driver’s reach zone, with new toggle switches have a large surface for easy activation and operate with a “click.” Kenworth noted it reduced the wraparound and placed the most often-used switches closer to the driver and used the further away positions for “highly-critical” switches in order to prevent accidental activation or deactivation of truck functions. One of the new features in the T680’s redesigned sleeper is an optional rotating passenger seat and dining table, allowing for the creation of more segmented work and rest space for drivers. The cab also features all-LED interior lighting, which includes dome lamps, reading lamps and sleeper lighting, plus an ambient light in the sleeper and also in the header to create a gentle “wash of light” on the instrument panel and the center console, the company noted.
Design efforts for the T-680 also touched on reducing maintenance expenses, Kenworth noted. For example, its research indicated that 3 to 5% of tractors per year encounter damage to the side extenders and sleeper, so the company made those components easy to replace. The tractor’s three-piece hood is also made of sheet molding compound (SMC), a lightweight, durable composite material, while its grille is now made from corrosion-resistant aluminum wire mesh for superior protection of cooling system components. The two-piece aerodynamic bumper and chassis fairings are made from Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO), which note only improves impact resistance, according to the company, but lowers the cost of repair and replacement too.