With the release of the W990 long bonnet prime mover in the US, are we getting some Kenworth T910 design hints? The answer, it’s hard to say for sure. The Paccar organisation are traditionally tight lipped about any future product, but we do know there is some form of T910 model waiting in the wings, to follow on from the launch of the Kenworth T 610 last year.
Design changes throughout the Kenworth range in Australia are going ahead as the company adapts each model design to make use of the 2.1 metre wide cab design which is central; to the new Kenworth design philosophy. By going over to a single core cabin design, Kenworth will gain a number of gains in both production efficiency and commonality of components, as well as making the driver experience consistent across the whole range.
One of the more difficult models to adapt will be the T909 in Australia. This is already an iconic model with a high level of popularity in the trucking industry. It is a combination of the ability to handle some of the toughest jobs in Australia with a long chassis, large fuel capacity, and the capacity to have high horsepower, high mass drivelines to handle the heaviest transport task, while, at the same time being a good looking truck.
The US market also likes the big prime mover with a long bonnet. It is an owner driver favourite. However, due to the low GCM rules in North America and the smooth interstates, the size of the truck is more important than the tough hardworking components underneath, like chassis, suspension and driveline.
If both markets prefer a big rugged prime mover design, but have different requirements for the task it needs to handle, then it would be logical to amortise the cost of developing a new cabin and bonnet for such a truck across as many markets as possible. The cabin and bonnet for the US could well end up as the basis for the design of the planned T910.
This is where we come to the W990, released by the Kenworth organisation in Las Vegas this week. The truck looks the business with the big highway cabin with the high sweeping cabin roof going back over sleeper options on 40 inch, 52 inch and 76 inch cabins. Underneath is a different story, it offers the kind of thing the long haul US truckie longs for, a low ride lightweight chassis, a Paccar MX 13 litre engine and the Paccar own-brand AMT.
This is very different from the heavy duty reinforced chassis, 18 speed gearbox, heavy duty diffs and 46,000lb plus rear end, which would be on the specification lists for many Kenworth buyers here in Australia. There’s no reason why an adaptation of the W990 cabin and bonnet couldn’t sit on top of these components, however.
The video gives us a good idea of how the Kenworth designers are thinking and the kind of components at their disposal when creating the W990 for the US. From the video, photos and limited technical data available at the launch, we can only surmise exactly what we will get and what we won’t.
The basic shape of the front section of the cabin look to be one of the items which will carry over, as does the cabin dash layout. The sleeper designs are likely to be different for Australia, our roads are way too rough for these US cabins to survive, unadapted.
The bonnet is the intriguing question. The current design of the T909 is iconic but it may only take a few cosmetic changes to make something consistent with the T909 ruggedness, from the basic design used in the US. Watch this space.