Before the Kenworth T680 Next Generation recently became available with the Cummins Westport ISX12N natural gas engine, the new truck model underwent extensive customer validation testing to assess ‘real-world’ performance. Early this year, Matheson Postal Services became one of Kenworth’s first customers to receive and place into service a T680 Next Gen equipped with an ISX12N engine.
The Sacramento-based company, which is committed to gradually phasing out its diesel trucks and replacing them with ones that run on CNG, provides regional and cross-country transportation for leading postal and shipping service providers, such as the United States Postal Service (USPS) and FedEx. With 95 classic Kenworth T680s and T880s equipped with 400-hp Cummins Westport ISX12N engines already in operation, Matheson Postal Services was the ideal candidate to evaluate the T680 Next Gen.
“Our validation process is an essential element of developing and launching Kenworth truck models. Matheson Postal Services is an excellent Kenworth customer and played a key role in assessing the T680 Next Gen in a natural gas engine-driven operation,” said Jim Walenczak, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing.
“It was exciting to have Kenworth approach us about testing out the new model,” said Daniel Shandy, Matheson Postal Services fleet maintenance director, highlighting that the truck’s improved aerodynamic design was what initially caught his attention when he saw the validation unit for the first time. “The sloped and narrower hood, re-designed chassis fairings, and other changes Kenworth made to reduce wind resistance caught my eye,” he added. “It’s a sleek design that builds off the quality attributes of the classic T680.”
Since being placed into service, the T680 Next Gen equipped with a 76-inch sleeper is on a dedicated route, making runs to and from Spokane, Washington, and Sacramento, California. The company closely monitors the truck’s performance and compares it to the classic T680s running the same route. So far, the T680 Next Gen has put more than 50,000 miles on the odometer – and one measurable that stands out above all else is the enhanced fuel economy.
Matheson Postal Services first began specifying near-zero emission engines on its Kenworth T680 and T880s seven years ago to become a more environmentally driven company and better assist its customers’ sustainability goals. “Much of our business is contracted out to the USPS, and they’ve mapped out a series of sustainability goals they intend to meet by 2025,” Shandy explained. “Not only is running CNG trucks better for the environment, but it’s also a good business decision for us since our customers want to work with companies committed to operating in a more sustainable way.”
The positive driver feedback and operational advantages that Matheson Postal Services found during its time with the T680 Next Gen led the fleet to move forward with the new model. The company currently has 40 Kenworth T680 Next Gen with 76-inch sleepers and Cummins Westport ISX12N engines rated at 400 HP on order with NorCal Kenworth – San Leandro.
“The support we’ve received from both NorCal Kenworth – Sacramento, our local dealer, and selling dealer NorCal Kenworth – San Leandro, has helped tremendously in our move to CNG trucks. We’ve had great success with them, and from a small sample size with the T680 Next Gen, we expect even better results with the new truck. We can hardly wait to receive our first order,” Shandy concluded.