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Heavy-Duty Truck Review – Notable 2021 PACCAR Trucks

With new technology and the widespread introduction of electric trucks, we wanted to review the 2021 lineup of North American manufactured Class 8 Commercial Trucks. In this article, we review notable 2021 PACCAR Trucks.

While we aren’t going to cover every truck in the 2021 lineup we are going to focus on notable trucks with technology that is significant to fleets.


PACCAR extends Kenworth’s 97-year history and they are sticking very close to their slogan “The World’s Best” by manufacturing a great lineup of trucks that continue to be as popular on-highway as they are in more vocational applications like in oil and gas, logging, and other work truck environments. Two notable models got our attention for 2021.


On October 14, 2020, Kenworth announced the launch of the Kenworth T680E which marks the first Class 8 battery-electric model they will ever manufacture. According to the press release, the new zero-emission Kenworth T680E, which is now available for order from Kenworth dealers in the United States and Canada, will enter into production in 2021.

“The Kenworth T680E launch is an exciting, pioneering moment that builds upon Kenworth’s excellent heritage of providing fleets and truck operators with outstanding and productive trucks driven by quality, innovation and technology,” said Kevin Baney, general manager and PACCAR vice president.

2021 Kenworth T-680E

The zero-emission Kenworth T680E has an estimated operating range of 150 miles, depending on the application. The T680E uses a CCS1 DC fast charger with a maximum rate of 120 kWh and an estimated 3.3-hour charging time.

Designed for pickup and delivery applications, the T680E is initially available as a day cab as either a tractor or straight truck in a 6×4 axle configuration. The new model is offered in 54,000 lb. and 82,000 lb. gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR).


Kenworth calls the T880 the “Ultimate Work Truck” and it is being manufactured with a bold design, it is tough and durable, and the T880 provides superior hauling strength, with a panoramic view for drivers and a spacious interior. The T880 stands out this year.

The T880 is powered with PACCAR diesel engines but holds to the traditional quality that Kenworth has become known for. Called “the Driver’s Truck” the T880 is perfect for a wide range of vocational applications.

The T880 will continue to be used in construction, dump, and ready-mix, as well as in heavy-haul applications like rig moving in the oil and gas sector and the logging industry. But don’t be surprised if you also see the T880 being used in urban areas as flatbeds and refuse roll-off decks. On the highway, you will see the T880 being used in bulk haul applications as well as wreckers pulling other trucks to the repair or collision shop.


PACCAR is leading the charge in alternative powertrain offerings by focusing on very specific types of fleets with the Peterbilt lineup this year.

Model 520 EV

According to a news release on November 16, 2020, the Model 520EV combines the standout features the Peterbilt Model 520 is known for with the advanced technology of a zero-emission electric powertrain, providing customers an unbeatable solution for their business. The Model 520EV chassis is available in two configurations to accommodate a variety of applications.

Peterbilt's 2021 Model 520EV

Clearly, the focus is on the refuse sector. According to the same news release, the Model 520EV features a range of 80-100 miles including 1,100 bin cycles when used with an automated side loader or 130 compactor cycles with a rear loader refuse body.  The state-of-the-art, high-energy-density LFP battery packs can recharge in 3-4 hours when using a recommended DC fast-charging system, making the 520EV ideal for the predictable routes seen in refuse applications.

“The Peterbilt Model 520EV is a big step towards turning our customers’ electrification dreams into reality. We believe the refuse and vocational space is a very important area for electrification and to have the first model readily available for customer orders is a big win for Peterbilt,” said Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager, and PACCAR vice president.

We will be reviewing other North American Class 8 Trucks over the next few weeks so make sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss out.

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Author: Jamie Irvine

Jamie Irvine is the host of The Heavy-Duty Parts Report and a consultant that works with manufacturers, distributors, and SaaS companies serving the heavy-duty truck parts industry.


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