The hillclimb route up to Pikes Peak in Colorado is renowned as one of the most grueling and challenging of its kind, through its mix of length, altitude and myriad of treacherous high-speed turns. You’d not expect it to be used to promote alternatively powered Class 8 trucks, but that’s exactly what PACCAR did with models from its Peterbilt and Kenworth brands.
According to Kyle Quinn, PACCAR chief technology officer, they
‘ Are very excited about the work Kenworth and Peterbilt have done in the development of zero emissions technology. Conquering Pikes Peak demonstrates PACCAR’s leadership in fuel cell and commercial vehicle electrification. ‘
The trucks that did it are Peterbilt Model 579EV battery electric truck and the Kenworth T680 fuel cell electric truck are apparently the first Class 8 zero emissions vehicles to be driven all the way up to the 14,115-foot (4,302-meter) peak.
With up to 670 horsepower and 150 miles (241 km) of range from its thermally-controlled lithium iron phosphate battery pack, the Model 579EV is an electric truck that is already seeing active service. There are apparently already 22 units on the road right now.
Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president, explained that
‘ Taking the Peterbilt Model 579EV to the summit of ‘America’s Mountain’ is an important milestone for Peterbilt and our entire lineup of battery electric commercial vehicles. Being the first battery electric Class 8 truck to climb to the top of Pikes Peak is further validation of all the real-world miles Peterbilt has accumulated across our entire EV test fleet and demonstrates we are ready to deliver production vehicles to our customers next year. ‘
There are currently no Kenworth T680s in operation, though, but ten such trucks will begin working in the Port of Los Angeles over coming months. The T680 has 470 horsepower, a 350-mile (563 km) range and it requires around 15 minutes for full fill of hydrogen.