Panasonic Energy Enters the EV Market Supplying Batteries

A collaboration between Hexagon Purus and Hino Trucks, a Toyota Group company.
Panasonic Energy to Supply Batteries for Groundbreaking Heavy-Duty Truck by Hexagon Purus and Hino Trucks, a Toyota Group company

Panasonic Energy announced that its lithium-ion batteries will power the new innovative Tern, a dedicated zero-emission truck brand, and their inaugural vehicle model, the RC8.

Tern Trucks is at the forefront of the trucking industry, providing innovative, reliable, and efficient vehicles that meet the diverse needs of businesses worldwide. By prioritising durability, fuel efficiency, advanced technology, and sustainability, their customers can operate fleets with confidence and responsibility. Whether for light-duty urban deliveries or heavy-duty industrial transport, Tern Trucks offers the perfect solution for every trucking requirement.

The battery-electric Class 8 tractor is tailored for the US market and supplied by Hexagon Purus, a world-leading manufacturer of zero-emission mobility, and Hino Trucks, a Toyota Group company. It marks the first time Panasonic Energy batteries were used in a commercial vehicle. The new truck will be unveiled at the Las Vegas Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo.

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Partnership expansion and industry impact

The announcement is a significant milestone, extending from the Panasonic Energy and Hexagon Purus partnership, first announced in April 2023.  The partnership is not just a collaboration, but a strategic alliance aimed at advancing the development and commercialisation of advanced hydrogen fuel cell systems. It combines Panasonic Energy's expertise in battery technology and energy solutions with Hexagon Purus' capabilities in hydrogen storage and transportation solutions, marking a crucial step in the journey towards zero-emission mobility.

The partnership represents a significant leap in transitioning the US commercial vehicle sector from fossil fuels to electric power. The transition is not just about adopting a new technology, but about supporting the establishment of a more American-based supply chain for the industry. Built on Hino Trucks' proven XL 4x2 chassis and equipped with Hexagon Purus' zero-emission technology, the innovative semi-tractor leverages Hexagon Purus' years of development of zero-emission drivetrains for heavy-duty trucks, representing a driver-preferred option for fleets that are electrifying practical routes. This is a monumental shift that will reshape the commercial vehicle sector and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of Panasonic Energy

"Commercial and heavy-duty transportation represents critical infrastructure for the US economy, and the rapid growth of the commercial EV industry underscores the need for innovative solutions. Providing batteries for Tern and Hexagon Purus is an important step in helping us drive the growth of the lithium-ion battery industry and accelerating the transition to zero-emission mobility," said Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of Panasonic Energy.

Heavy-duty fleet operators have a pressing need for more innovative platforms to add ZEV capacity to their fleets. Under the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) standard, introduced by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, 5% of all new class 7 and 8 trucks sold in 2024 in California must be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), while new additions to fleets of class 7 and 8 trucks operating to and from intermodal seaports and rail yards are required to be ZEV from 2024. The ACT standard further requires 100% of truck manufacturers' sales in 2040 to come from ZEVs. It was adopted by seven other states in the US, namely Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, New Jersey and Colorado.  Maryland and North Carolina are in the process of adopting the rule. In addition, according to a study published by market research firm P&S Intelligence, the US electric truck market is expected to reach US$15.1 million by 2030, with a CAGR of 54% from 2023. 

Morten Holum, CEO of Hexagon Purus

Future developments

"Panasonic 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," said Morten Holum, CEO of Hexagon Purus. "As the need for zero-emission heavy-duty trucking grows, our partnership with Panasonic for the production of Tern strengthens our leading battery system and vehicle integration offering in North America."

Panasonic Energy  is not just stopping at this partnership and product launch. It continues to strengthen its lineup of automotive lithium-ion batteries and expand its production capacity, currently developing the new '4680' high-capacity lithium-ion battery in Japan. Its Sparks facility in Nevada is one of the world's largest lithium-ion battery factories, surpassing nine billion EV battery cells shipped. The overall commitment to innovation and expansion is a testament to our belief in the future of battery technology and its role in shaping the future of mobility.

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