Paccar zero-emissions trucks recently made a visit to Washington, D.C., where White House and congressional officials got a chance to check out the latest battery-electric and fuel-cell-electric technology. And if the resulting White House video was an indication, they were a hit.
A Kenworth zero-emissions T680 fuel-cell-electric day cab served as a backdrop for a major U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) press conference. During that event, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced $60 million in funding for 24 research and development projects, including projects related to battery and electrification technologies and the transportation industry aimed at driving down emissions.
Following the press conference, Granholm and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy filmed a White House Weekly Conversation video in the cab of a Kenworth fuel-cell electric truck, using it for a backdrop to talk about White House efforts to promote zero-emission vehicles, U.S. manufacturing, and jobs. McCarthy called it a “classy Class 8 truck,” while Granholm took the opportunity to honk the horn.
Kenworth is working with Toyota and the Port of Los Angeles to test fuel-cell-electric trucks in southern California. It has built 10 zero-emissions T680 FCEVs under the $82.5 million Shore-to-Store project led by the port.
Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo took a Peterbilt Model 579EV for a ride around the Capitol. Granholm and McCarthy called her on the CB from the cab of the Kenworth to talk about semiconductors, which have been a stumbling block for both auto and truck production. Over a thousand semiconductors go into each of these trucks, Raimondo pointed out, promoting Biden’s Chips Act.
The next day, both trucks were on display at Peace Monument directly in front of the steps leading up to the Capitol building. The following day, members of Congress, committee staff, and trade association executives stopped by for a visit and discussion. They included Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as well as Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
While the Kenworth fuel-cell truck is still in a demonstration phase, the Peterbilt Model 579EV became commercially available for customer orders late last year. Kenworth and Peterbilt both offer battery-electric heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks.
Editor's note: Updated 8/9/2021 to add additional information and photos from Kenworth.