Kenworth launched its new T680 Next Generation on-highway flagship truck during a virtual unveiling Feb. 11, showcasing improved aerodynamics, driver-focused improvements, and technology advances such as a 15-inch digital screen dash display.
A sleek design balances aerodynamics and serviceability, resulting in an estimated 6% overall fuel economy increase for a T680 Next Gen 76-inch sleeper over a comparably spec’d T680 with an EPA 2017 Paccar MX-13 engine.
The T680 Next Gen includes new aero bumper and hood, turning vanes, durable lower fairing extensions, chassis fairings, wheel well closeouts, 28-inch side extenders, tandem drive axle fairings, and wheel covers, among other features, all to keep the airflow closer to the cab and reduce drag-causing turbulence. The T680 Next Gen is standard with the EPA 2021 Paccar MX-13 12.9-liter engine and Paccar Powertrain, which also offer fuel efficiency gains.
“We exceeded the superior fuel efficiency of the current T680, through aerodynamic advancements and design innovations. As a result, Kenworth T680 Next Generation is the most aerodynamic truck in company history,” said Joe Adams, Kenworth chief engineer, in a news release.
Behind the cab, Kenworth now has optional side extenders that extend an additional 9 inches – 28 inches in total length -- which helps close the tractor/trailer gap and smooth airflow from the top and sides of the tractor onto the trailer. Providing a good fuel economy benefit, the side extenders can be spec’d to open on either side of the tractor to allow frame and component access.
Looking to the front of the truck, the Kenworth engineering team addressed airflow under the chassis instead of only around the truck. “Changes to the hood and bumper keep airflow closer to the cab and reduce turbulence,” Adams explained. “The hood is 8 inches narrower than before. The restyled, aerodynamic bumper maintains the same approach angle and ground clearance as the classic Kenworth T680.” The ground clearance in front is the same as the current T680; the bumper now flows back under the chassis to guide airflow.
Fully LED headlamps provide a crisp bright light, with a built-in infrared heater to quickly clear ice and snow. The headlamps include low beam, high beam, a signature daytime running lamp and turn signals. Newly designed halogen headlamps flow with the hood and integrate daytime running lights and an amber turn signal. A new, LED side turn indicator offers increased visibility to surrounding traffic.
While the team created even more new aerodynamic touches from the cab back, it also redesigned the steps into the cab with a more stair-like entry.
High-tech Driver Enhancements
The Kenworth T680 Next Gen offers technology advancements, including a 15-inch digital display, Next Gen SmartWheel, fully LED headlamps, and additional advanced driver assistance systems.
Kenworth said the 15-inch digital display, standard on the Next Generation T680, is the largest standard factory display available in any North American truck to date. The design is easily adjustable to enable drivers to match their preferences, while also automatically displaying critical content.
Drivers can control the digital display with intuitive controls on the new standard Kenworth SmartWheel, according to Kenworth, which also puts cruise control and radio functions at the driver’s fingertips. The new digital instrumentation system allows seamless viewing selection between two Minimized Views, Basic View, Maximized View and even a driver customizable Favorites View.
The Digital Display also offers advantages when the truck is parked. When the driver presses the Exterior Light Self-Test switch, for example, the truck runs a full System Check and gives a quick analysis and summary of multiple systems statuses on the display. When a driver pulls in for the day and shuts the truck off, the screen transitions to a Trip Summary view, and if equipped, can even provide a Driver Performance Assessment report and coaching advice. A Drive Summary, which reports statistics on information such as average fuel economy, idle time, cruise control usage, as well as any potential mechanical issues, also appears at the day’s end.
The T680 Next Gen offers a suite of advanced driver assistance systems, and introduces Lane Keeping Assist and Torque Assisted Steering as options for the first time in the Kenworth lineup. Lane Keeping Assist uses camera input to identify when the truck is departing the lane and provides a “nudge” to help keep centered in the lane. This feature requires Bendix Fusion and comes with Torque Assisted Steering, which provides additional torque to the steering column, reducing driver fatigue. The T680 Next Gen also includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Collision Mitigation and Side Object Detection.
Kenworth TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics is standard on the T680 Next Gen.
The Kenworth T680 Next Generation is designed to optimize performance in line haul, pickup and delivery, and regional haul operations. It is available in day cab, 40-inch, 52-inch and 76-inch-sleeper configurations.
Improved chassis packaging is offered, presenting the opportunity for a shorter wheelbase and a reduced trailer gap of between 38 to 42 inches. Sleeper side extenders are designed to open to allow for frame access with the tighter trailer gap.
The sleek new aerodynamic hood is available in two sizes – 125-inch BBC (standard) or 119-inch BBC (MX) – with fairings or a split fender set up.
The T680 Next Generation is expected to ramp up production in the second quarter of the year. Customers will be able to order either the current or the new version concurrently until at least the end of the year. The phase-out of the previous T680 will depend on customer demand, Kenworth officials told reporters in a press conference call following the unveil.