Toyota announces nationwide dealer rollout of Tern Class 8 electric semi

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Launched as a joint venture between Toyota Group and Tier 1 supplier Hexagon Purus, the new Tern brand of heavy duty electric trucks announced Hino Trucks as its exclusive US distributor.

Another Toyota Group brand, Hino Trucks nevertheless brings a nationwide network of more than 200 heavy truck dealers (and their customers) to the new JV with Hexagon, which is specifically focused on electrifying “practical” commercial vehicle applications.

Glenn Ellis, President and CEO of Hino Trucks, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership. “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,” he explained. “We are excited to be the exclusive distributor for Tern with an initial distribution focus in California, where fleet electrification is imperative.”

Tern RC8 electric semi

The new Tern RC8 electric truck offers a 68,000 lb. GVWR, 680 peak horsepower electric motor (494 continuous), a 200 mile range, and the ability to go from 0-80% charge in less than two hours at 240 kW. Energy comes from dual Hexagon Purus Gen3 269kWh battery packs in a 750-volt, 538 kWh configuration.

The announcement coincides with California’s Advanced Clean Fleets regulation, and was made today at the ACT Expo, which is taking place this year in the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Serial production for the Tern RC8 is scheduled to begin later this year.

Electrek’s Take

Tern RC8 electric semi truck; via Hino Truck.

It’s hard to act surprised that a Toyota brand is going to be supported by Toyota’s existing dealer network, but it’s worth noting that, while Toyota is marketing/lobbying against EVs on the one hand, it’s quietly investing big bucks into battery electric on the other.

My guess: as soon as Toyota has a viable BEV on the market, they’ll “suddenly” realize that BEVs were the way to go all along. #bet

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