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A roundup of the latest electric truck news

Managing Editor of Fleet Equipment Magazine


With each passing month comes more news from the growing world of electric trucks. Here’s a refresher on the latest in medium- and heavy-duty electrification.

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In early October, Hino Trucks announced “Project Z,” outlining its plans to develop and release several zero-emissions vehicles over the next few years. The project includes both battery electric and fuel cell electric trucks.

“We’ll have some early prototypes in 2021, we’ll have customer demos in 2022, and we’ll be in full production before 2024,” said Glenn Ellis, senior vice president of customer experience with Hino Trucks.


“We’re developing the biggest breadth of zero-emission vehicles in the industry,” Ellis claimed. “We’re developing Class 4 through 8 zero-emission vehicles with several different partners right now.”

Those vehicles include a Class 5 SEA Electric SEA-Drive 120a on a Hino M5 chassis; a battery electric Class 7 Hino tractor with Hexagon Purus’ full electric drive system; and a Hino XL Series Class 8 box truck powered by Xos Trucks’ X-Pack battery and electric drive system.

Additionally, Hino and its parent company, Toyota Motor North America, will be jointly developing a Class 8 fuel cell electric truck for the North American market, the first of which will be built in 2021.



Capping off a busy fall of electric truck-related announcements, Kenworth announced a battery electric version of its Class 8 T680 truck, now available for order. The Kenworth T680E will enter into production in 2021 and is designed for pickup and delivery applications, the company said.

Specs include an estimated operating range of 150 miles, depending on application; an estimated 3.3-hour charging time; a top speed of 70 MPH; and 536 HP continuous power and up to 670 HP peak power and 1,623 lb.-ft. of torque.


This was the third electric vehicle Kenworth has announced in 2020, following the K270E and K370E medium-duty models.  



Mack Trucks recently delivered a pre-production Mack LR Electric model to Republic Services to begin in-service trials in real-world refuse routes. Mack says it will use what it learns from the trials to further refine the LR Electric as it prepares to accept orders for the truck in Q4 of 2020, with production beginning in 2021. The truck will go into service for Republic in Hickory, N.C.

“We want to take a leadership role in electrification,” said Shane Walker, area president for the Mid-Atlantic region at Republic Services. “We know it’s good for our business. Our customers share our values for a cleaner, safer fleet that is better for the environment.”


Another Mack LR Electric is already being tested by the Department of Sanitation in New York City.



In early November, Peterbilt’s Model 579EV became available for customer order, with production expected in Q2 of 2021. This follows the announcement of Peterbilt’s Model 220EV this summer. The truck boasts a 150 mile range and charges in three to four hours when using the recommended DC fast charger.



Volvo Trucks North America announced that orders for its VNR Electric truck will be opened on Dec. 3, with production to begin in early 2021.

“As part of the very successful Volvo LIGHTS project, which we started in 2019 in Southern California in collaboration with 14 other pioneering organizations, we validated the viability and reliability of the Volvo VNR Electric in real-world operations and proved what it takes to create a holistic, end-to-end electromobility solution to drive true sustainability in the trucking industry,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “We are fully confident in bringing this new technology to the commercial market.”

Looking for more info on electric trucks? Make sure to check out the Fleet Future podcast’s series on electrification here.



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