Skip to main content
King County logo

News

King County Executive
Dow Constantine


King County rolls out the state’s first battery-electric heavy-duty truck built in Renton, opening a new market for zero-emission fleets

Summary

King County – already a leader in the transition to bus fleets powered by clean energy – is now the first organization in the state to operate a battery-powered heavy-duty truck manufactured at Kenworth’s plant in Renton.

Story

King County today became the first organization in the state to roll out a new model of battery-electric heavy-duty trucks manufactured at Kenworth’s assembly plant in Renton, opening a new market for zero-emission fleets.

It will be one of the first Class 8 battery-electric trucks in North America operated by a waste management agency. Along with King County Metro’s progress toward electrifying its bus fleet, King County is a leader in the transition to zero-emission vehicles that reduce air and noise pollution.

“We are once again catalyzing new markets to accelerate the transition to zero-emission fleets, this time with reliable heavy-duty trucks built right here in King County,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “By leveraging the purchasing power of one of the nation’s largest counties, we are proving to manufacturers that there is strong demand for vehicles that cut greenhouse gas emissions, lower maintenance costs, improve air quality, and reduce noise pollution.”

Kenworths manufacturing plant in Renton
Videos from Kenworth's Renton assembly plant - click or tap to view

“We’re entering a new and exciting time in the trucking industry,” said Jim Walenczak, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “It was great to meet with King County representatives and take them on a tour to show how these new battery electric vehicles are built at the Kenworth Renton plant. We thank King County for its business and look forward to seeing this new Kenworth T680E on the road.”

King County’s Solid Waste Division will use the new zero-emission commercial truck to haul materials from its Enumclaw Recycling and Transfer Station to the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. The pilot project will provide staff members with operational experience while measuring the performance of the battery-powered tractor-trailer combination for transferring solid waste.

A cost-benefit analysis by the Solid Waste Division estimates that maintaining and operating a Kenworth T680E truck will cost less than maintaining and operating a diesel truck. In addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, it will reduce the amount of toxic diesel particulates that are emitted in South King County where communities are disproportionately impacted by air pollution. The quieter model will also reduce noise pollution.

The battery pack that powers the 536-horsepower motor can be recharged in about three hours at the new charging station at Cedar Hills Regional Landfill. The truck, hauling 20 tons, can easily reach 65 mph and can travel about 150 miles on a single charge.

A King County ordinance set a goal that 50 percent of its fleet of heavy-duty trucks will be electric by 2038, contributing to the county’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 80 percent by 2030.

“We need to hit the accelerator on transitioning large trucks from dirty diesel to all electric.  It’s one of the most important steps that we can take to cut climate and air pollution,” said Gregg Small, Executive Director of Climate Solutions. “And we generate good-paying jobs manufacturing those clean solutions right here in Washington state. King County’s commitment to purchase this all-electric Kenworth truck to use in our community is a huge step to help our lungs, our climate, and our economy. We are calling on policymakers to go big on electrifying big vehicles by putting in place policies and more incentives for these win-win solutions.”

Helping cut greenhouse gas emission in half by the end of this decade

Washington, unlike California and a few other states, does not currently offer any incentives for purchasing zero-emission heavy-duty trucks. The Solid Waste Division purchased its first model now to contribute to goals in King County’s 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan to cut countywide greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of this decade.

The purchase builds on the momentum established by King County Metro, which is advancing its goal to have 100 percent of its bus fleet powered by renewable energy by 2035.

A directive from Executive Constantine placed a moratorium for county agencies on the purchase of light-duty vehicles that are powered by internal combustion engines as the county scales up its fleet electrification initiatives.

Transitioning to heavy-duty trucks powered by electricity at a regionwide scale has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A 2019 study by King County found that 16 percent of on-the-road greenhouse gas emissions is generated by freight and service vehicles.

Relevant links


Quotes

We are once again catalyzing new markets to accelerate the transition to zero-emission fleets, this time with reliable heavy-duty trucks built right here in King County. By leveraging the purchasing power of one of the nation’s largest counties, we are proving to manufacturers that there is strong demand for vehicles that cut greenhouse gas emissions, lower maintenance costs, improve air quality, and reduce noise pollution.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

We’re entering a new and exciting time in the trucking industry. It was great to meet with King County representatives and take them on a tour to show how these new battery electric vehicles are built at the Kenworth Renton plant. We thank King County for its business and look forward to seeing this new Kenworth T680E on the road.

Jim Walenczak, Kenworth Assistant General Manager for Sales and Marketing

We need to hit the accelerator on transitioning large trucks from dirty diesel to all electric. It’s one of the most important steps that we can take to cut climate and air pollution and we generate good-paying jobs manufacturing those clean solutions right here in Washington state. King County’s commitment to purchase this all-electric Kenworth truck to use in our community is a huge step to help our lungs, our climate, and our economy. We are calling on policymakers to go big on electrifying big vehicles by putting in place policies and more incentives for these win-win solutions.

Gregg Small, Climate Solutions Executive Director

For more information, contact:

Annie Kolb-Nelson, King County Solid Waste Division, 206-477-5373
Jeff Parietti, Kenworth, 206-828-5196


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography