Kenworth has announced the development of a Class 8 hydrogen powered truck with zero emissions, expected to be ready for on road testing at the end of the year.

The prototype uses a Ballard Power System supplied fuel cell in the T680 fitted with lithium-ion batteries which power a dual-rotor electric motor on the tandem rear axles, mated to a four-speed automatic.

As well as the hydrogen truck, Kenworth is also developing a hybrid-electric T680 powered by a Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero NOx engine, also to debut in the fourth quarter.

The Cummins runs on compressed natural gas (CNG) to generate electrical power.

These two T680 tractors will be identical, with the exception of their power generation systems. Each truck will have an electric-only range of approximately 30 miles, and the on-board fuel – hydrogen or natural gas –will provide sufficient range for a full day in regional haul applications.

The projects have the backing of a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Kenworth will also build four additional, hybrid-electric T680 day cabs equipped with the Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero NOx engine operating on compressed natural gas for customer field testing next year.

Testing will be conducted transporting freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and railyards in the Los Angeles basin.

According to Kenworth chief engineer Patrick Dean, these prototypes will give an insight into the direction of the industry.

“These T680 day cab projects provide an excellent opportunity for Kenworth to develop and advance important technologies that may play a critical role in the trucks of tomorrow,” Dean said.

“Within the next decade, hybrid-electric powertrains are expected to be required to satisfy emissions regulations in several major U.S. metropolitan areas. For example, California is considering regulations that will require zero-emission levels for port drayage trucks operating in specifically designated areas. We look forward to playing a leadership role to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead,” he said.