KIRKLAND Wash. — Kenworth is participating in a research project that will add wireless fast charging to Class 8 battery electric vehicles (EVs), according to a company news release.
Wireless charging at a 1-megawatt rate will allow electric vehicle batteries to fully charge in 30 minutes or less. The company said the batteries will be designed specifically for regional-haul routes.
The program is funded through an $8 million cost-share project by the Vehicle Technologies Office of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The project includes Kenworth, Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE) and Utah State University.
Kenworth will provide a T680 Next Generation battery-electric vehicle with a traction motor rated at 420 kW and 560 hp, a battery capacity of 660 kWh and a target range of at least 170 miles before requiring a recharge.
The T680 Next Gen will operate in a two-shift haul to and from Seattle and Portland, Oregon, with regional deliveries en route combined with local in-city deliveries to exceed 400 miles daily.
“This project offers an excellent opportunity to team with the participants to foster important advancements that extend Class 8 battery electric vehicle range and reduce recharge times,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president.
WAVE’s high-power wireless chargers have been used in mass transit applications since 2017. The company is working with power electronics researchers at Utah State University to design a 1-megawatt, wireless inductive charging solution for designated facilities in both Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
Seattle City Light and Portland General Electric will be involved in the respective site installation in their cities; installations are expected to be completed in 2022.
“At the megawatt power levels required by Class 8 EVs, there are significant advantages to eliminating mechanical movement and human contact associated with current charging technologies,” said WAVE CEO Michael Masquelier.
“The work we are doing with Kenworth and Utah State University will help enable fleet operators to extend the range of heavy-duty EVs, making the industry’s zero emission goals more attainable.”