Panasonic, the company  that most of us remember for fuelling the music revolution of the ’60s and ’70s with its National and Panasonic  transistor radios, not to mention the plethora of other consumer electronics, may be about to make a big statement in the burgeoning battery electric truck market in the USA, after announcing that its   lithium-ion batteries will power the new Hino sourced/associated zero-emission truck brand, Tern.

Panasonic  batteries will be used in Tern’s first model, the RC8, mentioned last week here in T&B News, which will be a battery-electric Heavy duty (Class 8) prime mover for the U.S. market.

Tern is also in collaboration with Hexagon Purus ASA, a  manufacturer of zero-emission mobility, as well as  Hino Trucks, which will distribute the brand in the USA, through its dealer network.

The use of  the company’s batteries in this project  marks Panasonic Energy’s entry into the commercial vehicle sector, which significantly as well as being the first time Panasonic Energy’s batteries will being used in a commercial vehicle, but also apparently extends the partnership between Panasonic Energy and Hexagon Purus, first revealed in April 2023. The collaboration  will also see Panasonic manufacture the batteries for Tern Trucks initially in Japan, with the company stating that they will later be sourced  from its new U.S. facility at  De Soto, in the state of Kansas.

The RC8 prime mover is built on Hino Trucks’ XL 4×2 chassis and incorporates Hexagon Purus’ zero-emission technology, designed to meet the practical needs of electrifying fleet routes. This development aligns with the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) standard by the California Air Resources Board, mandating an increase in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) capacity in heavy-duty trucks.

Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of Panasonic Energy, emphasised the significance of the development by saying  that commercial and heavy-duty transportation represents critical infrastructure for the U.S. economy.

“Providing batteries for Tern and Hexagon Purus is an important step in helping us to drive the growth of the lithium-ion battery industry and accelerating the transition to zero-emission mobility,” Tadanobu said.

The ACT standard  in California requires that  five  per cent  of new Class 7 and 8 heavy trucks sold in California in 2024 have to be Zero Emission Vehicles, with 100 per cent of truck manufacturers’ sales to be ZEVs by 2040.

This regulation has also been adopted by seven other US states, with more apparently in the process of adopting the rule. The U.S. electric truck market is projected to  be worth about $USD 15,143 million by 2030, with heavy-duty trucks being the fastest-growing category.

Morten Holum, CEO of Hexagon Purus, highlighted Panasonic’s pioneering role by stating that it has been a pioneer in making zero-emission mobility available to the mass market, and this, coupled with their reliability and focus on continuous innovation, makes them the ideal partner for Hexagon Purus.

Panasonic Energy  said that it continues to lead in lithium-ion battery technology, enhancing its lineup of automotive lithium-ion batteries and expanding production capacity.

Their facility at  Sparks, in the US state of  Nevada, is one of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery factories, with more than  nine billion EV battery cells shipped so far according to Panasonic.

The company’s  says its expansion in Kansas further cements its position as a leader in the North American EV market and supports its Green IMPACT initiative aimed at achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2030 and avoiding 300 million tons of emissions by 2050.