Toyota Unit Plans Electric Semi Later This Year

a truck driving under a bridge
Toyota Unit Plans Electric Semi Later This YearHexagon Purus
  • Toyota's Hino Trucks unit and Hexagon Purus collaborate on electric semi truck to be offered under the Tern brand, slated to enter production in Texas later in 2024.

  • The Tern RC8 will be powered by two Hexagon Purus batteries, with cells sourced from Panasonic, offering a combined 538-kWh capacity.

  • The day-cab 4x2 truck, based on an existing Hino chassis, will be aimed at regional deliveries with routes of about 200 miles, making it an option for food and beverage distributors, as well as other types of hub-to-hub cargo routes.

Tesla may have gotten plenty of publicity for its electric Semi over the years, even if production still hasn't quite caught up to the the EV maker's original plans. But it's by no means the only player in the electric cargo truck sphere.


What's more, it will soon face the Toyota Group in the electric semi truck market.

The Japanese automaker's Hino Trucks subsidiary has teamed up with Norway's Hexagon Purus to launch a new brand of zero-emission electric trucks called Tern, named for the migratory arctic bird.

And the first model will pair Hexagon's heavy-duty electric drivetrain with Hino's 4x2 chassis, with the Tern RC8 scheduled to enter production in Dallas, Texas later in 2024.

The recipe for the Class 8 truck itself sounds like a supplier team effort, with two Hexagon Purus Gen3 battery packs featuring a combined capacity of 538 kWh, with battery cells supplied by Panasonic Energy, along with an an e-Axle from Dana. The wheelbase itself will be rather compact with a length of 165 inches, based on Hino's existing XL Series.

"Our partnership with Hexagon Purus introduces a highly reliable Class 8, 4x2 tractor option into the electric truck market, catering to a wide range of applications," said Glenn Ellis, President of Hino Trucks.

With peak rating of 680 hp and a continuous 494 hp output, along with 38,350 lb-ft of peak torque, the Tern RC8 will feature a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 68,000 lbs, making it suitable for regional deliveries.

This means the trucks will serve routes of about 200 miles, while also offering a fast charging rate of 241 kW.

Trucks of this type will rely on their own charging infrastructure at their home bases, usually performing runs between warehouses. Hino's dealer and service network, meanwhile, will offer maintenance and support.

the track club
Hearst Owned

The $2 billion joint venture and the development of the Tern RC8 has been motivated in part by California's Advanced Clean Fleets regulations, which give fleets an opportunity to transition to zero-emission trucks for daily routes like food and beverage logistics.

"Tern RC8 delivers the comfort, reliability, and safety that drivers and fleets want, and it's purpose-built to be a very practical truck for operators integrating zero-emission trucks into their fleets," said Morten Holum, CEO of Hexagon Purus.

More importantly, it is this category of truck, aimed at regional deliveries, that is expected to go electric the soonest, compared to other types of heavy trucks. A number of models are already on the market from Freightliner and Volvo, aimed at fleets that perform daily deliveries within a relatively confined geographic area.

Will we see food and beverage logistics trucks go electric in significant numbers in this decade, or much later? Let us know what you think in the comments below.