Kenworth T680s With 12-Liter CNG Engines Join California Trucking Fleet

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California-based U.S. Postal Service contractor AJR Trucking has taken delivery of a Kenworth T680 with a Cummins Westport 12-liter ISX12N compressed natural gas (CNG) engine for its mail delivery fleet.

According to the California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership (CNGVP), Kenworth Truck Co. and AJR Trucking, this marks the first truck equipped with the Cummins Westport 12-liter ISX12N engine. The partners claim the ISX12N is the only engine to be certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as meeting CARB’s toughest optional Low NOx standard, which is 90% cleaner than current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.

“This new truck, which is the cleanest heavy-duty truck commercially available on the market today, is the first of many that will hit the road this year and will help transform the heavy-duty transportation market,” says Todd Campbell, chair of the CNGVP and vice president of public policy and regulatory affairs at Clean Energy Fuels Corp. “With seven out of 10 of the nation’s most polluted cities here in California, an immediate deployment of ultra-clean natural gas trucks is vital to improving the air quality throughout the state.”

The Kenworth T680 will go into service delivering mail from Santa Clarita to Los Angeles International Airport. In subsequent weeks, 19 more T680s with the new 12-liter Cummins Westport engines will be delivered and placed into service for AJR Trucking. The trucks were purchased through Inland Kenworth – Montebello.

The truck was purchased with funds from the Proposition 1B (Prop 1B) incentive pool managed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Prop 1B funds projects that reduce emissions from goods movement operations by helping eligible fleet owners replace their aging diesel trucks with up to $100,000 toward the purchase of a new natural gas truck. The Southern California Gas Co., a CNGVP steering committee member, worked with AJR Trucking to submit 46 Prop 1B applications.

“We are delighted to deliver this special Kenworth T680 with the Cummins Westport ISX12N engine to AJR Trucking,” states Kurt Swihart, Kenworth’s marketing director. “It signifies the further move toward near-zero-emission vehicles. Our customers have requested a 12-liter compressed natural gas-powered Kenworth truck. This is a game-changer in bringing to market a 400-horsepower engine for vocational and regional use, and we’re proud to be the first truck original equipment manufacturer to present keys to a customer.”

According to Jack Khudikyan, co-founder of AJR Trucking, the company was testing a “pre-commercial” CNG-equipped Kenworth T680 for close to a year.

“We wanted to get familiar with how a CNG-equipped engine worked and how refueling would go,” he says. “That experience told us it was very viable. That led us to put in motion a contract bid with the USPS, and we gained the business due to providing mail service with a fleet of Kenworths and the new near-zero engine. We plan to further our commitment to CNG with more near-zero-emission trucks in more routes this year.”

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(From left) Steve Abrahams, Inland Kenworth; Brett VanVoorhis, Kenworth western fleet sales manager; AJR Trucking co-owners Chris Khudikyan and Jack Khudikyan; and Chuck Peterman, Inland Kenworth.

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