Following hot on the heals of  the announcement from Daimler Trucks that it has spun off its  Fuso electric truck branding in the USA  as Rizon,  Japan brand Hino has made a similar  move, announcing a new dedicated electric truck brand int he USA.

Hino made the announcement at the  recent Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in America ,   that it would be distributing  the new electric  truck brand  to be known as Tern, initially with just one model  based on its 600 Series XL 4×2 truck with a full battery electric driveline.

Hino says that Tern, will offer a dedicated zero-emission truck brand along with its  inaugural truck model, the RC8, a  battery electric Class 8  hey duty prime mover  tailored for the U.S. market.

According to Hino, the  Tern RC8 is based on its XL Series 4×2 chassis and integrates Hexagon Purus’ zero-emission technology. The  announcement says that  the RC8 boasts innovative features including proprietary battery systems, auxiliary modules, and power modules.

The company says that the truck leverages the U.S.-assembled Hino chassis,  using Dana’s Zero-8 e-Axle for optimum efficiency, and battery cells supplied and manufactured by Panasonic Energy initially in Japan. The company says  that the battery production will  transition to De Soto in Kansas from 2026.

Hino says that the Tern trucks brand will be exclusively available through select US dealers, leveraging Hino Trucks’ infrastructure  for total support. Series production for the Tern RC8 is scheduled for late  this year ((2024).

The launch of the Tern brand apparently aligns with California’s latest Advanced Clean Fleets regulation, and offers US fleets an option to decarbonise fleets, particularly in target applications such as metro-regional routes, food and beverage logistics and similar routes where the tight turning radius and popular 4×2 chassis provide practical benefits.

the truck will clearly be up against Tesla’s long awaited and long promised ‘Semi-Truck’ which has so far not materialised  in the sort of numbers Tesla has predicted  or met deadlines the company had previously announced

President and CEO of Hino Trucks USA, Glenn Ellis,  expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, praising the  collaboration with Hexagon Purus.

“Our collaboration with Hexagon Purus introduces a highly reliable Class 8, 4×2 tractor option into the electric truck market, catering to a wide range of applications. We are excited to be the exclusive distributor for Tern with an initial distribution focus in California, where fleet electrification is imperative,” said Ellis.

Vice President of national accounts and zero emission vehicles  at Hino Trucks USA, Rodney Shaffer, added the company was eager to work with Tern dealers to build a strong sales distribution and service support network for customers of this exciting and innovative new product.

According to the Hino statement key features of the Tern RC8 include a  100 per cent battery-electric platform with an industry-leading short 4.1 metre wheelbase (165 inches), a GCM of 30.8 tonnes (68,000 lbs), dual Hexagon Purus Gen3 269 kWh battery packs in a 750-volt, 538kWh configuration, providing power and range for most duty cycles, recharge rate of 241 kW, allowing 80 per cent charge in a little under two hours and peak/continuous horsepower of 680hp/494hp

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

“The introduction of the Tern brand signifies a transformative step for both companies and the commercial trucking industry, driving towards a zero-emission future without compromising on power or performance,” Holum said.

Hexagon Purus is a  specialist company in the zero emission mobility space with a focus  on a cleaner energy future. and claims to be a world leader in providing hydrogen Type 4 high-pressure cylinders and systems, battery systems and vehicle integration solutions for fuel cell electric and battery electric vehicles.  The company’s products are used in a variety of applications including light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles, buses, ground storage, distribution, refuelling, maritime, rail and aerospace.

Hino, like its parent company,  Toyota, has been slow to the full battery electric realm, holding back and concentrating on hybrid drivelines and also on hydrogen fuel cell systems. Hino in the USA has also forged links with SEA Electric  for electric light and medium duty trucks based on Hino chassis, while Hino in Australia also formed a relationship with SEA, however. the later has been more of an arms length relationship with the electric driveline start-up.