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ACT Expo 2024 new electric truck models and solutions

Future models: OEMs, startups show off new trucks and vans at ACT Expo

May 28, 2024
ACT Expo 2024 continues to focus on future innovations as OEMs and startups unveiled their latest zero-emission and future-focused trucks and technology: From Rizon's expanded lineup to Tern's heavy-duty debut and Volvo's autonomous VNL.

As thousands of trucking leaders and fleet managers gathered for the most significant industry gathering focused on future transportation solutions, several OEMs and startups rolled out new commercial vehicle models in Las Vegas last week. 

Here is a look at some of the medium- and heavy-duty trucks and vans that drew attention during the 2024 Advanced Clean Transportation Expo. As the industry leans more into alternative fuel and decarbonization, fleets have more options than ever to cut tailpipe emissions, according to the annual State of Sustainable Fleets Report issued at the start of the annual conference. 

Here is a brief rundown of the new models and features that debuted during the show and could be part of future fleet operations.

Rizon adds new models

Rizon, Daimler Truck’s Class 4 and 5 EV truck brand that launched just before last year’s ACT Expo, is adding two new models to its offerings. This year, the OEM announced the new e18Mx and e18Lx, which offer enhanced payload capacities of up to 18,850 lb. for urban and local deliveries.

"The introduction of the e18Mx and e18Lx models with increased payload capacity isn't just about helping customers carry more cargo—it's about maximizing efficiency,” Alex Voets, GM of Velocity EV, Rizon’s exclusive U.S. distributor, said. “With these new models, businesses can achieve higher efficiency by reducing the number of trips needed for local deliveries, ultimately saving on costs and enhancing their bottom line.” 

Velocity EV is accepting orders for the 2025 model year vehicles. The trucks offer up to 160 miles per charge and are eligible for California’s zero-emission truck voucher incentives of $60,000 per vehicle.

Hexagon and Hino launch new HD EV

Hexagon Purus and partner Hino Trucks launched Tern, a new EV truck brand, during ACT Expo. The Tern RC8, a Class 8 EV tractor, leverages Hexagon Purus' zero-emission drivetrains for heavy-duty trucks.

Hexagon Purus and Hino Trucks have a long-term agreement worth about $2 billion. The RC8 is scheduled for serial production later this year at Hexagon Purus' new facility in Dallas. It is built on Hino's XL Series 4x2 chassis and equipped with Hexagon Purus' zero-emission technology.

Along with the U.S.-assembled Hino chassis, The RC8 features a Dana e-axle and Panasonic Energy battery cells. The batteries will initially come from Japan, but Tern expects to source them from Panasonic’s future De Soto, Kansas, factory beginning in 2026.

Beginning in California, Tern trucks will be sold through a dealer network that shares facilities with Hino’s dealerships.

During ACT Expo, Tern leaders shared these RC8 specs:

  • A short 165-in. wheelbase
  • 68,000 lb. GVWR
  • Designed for regional and urban applications of about 200 miles
  • Dual Hexagon Purus Gen3 269kWh battery packs in a 750-volt, 538 kWh configuration
  • Recharge rate of 241 kW
  • Peak/continuous horsepower of 680hp/494hp
  • Peak torque 38,350 ft./lbs.

Volvo launches autonomous VNL

Volvo Autonomous Solutions unveiled the truckmaker’s first production-ready over-the-road autonomous tractor at ACT Expo. The Volvo VNL Autonomous combines Volvo Truck North America’s and Aurora technology. 

The platform-based design approach will enable Volvo to use its in-house developed virtual driver for trucks and machines working within confined applications and partner virtual driving technologies for on-highway trucking applications. 

“We are at the forefront of a new way to transport goods, complementing and enhancing transportation capacity, and thereby enabling trade and societal growth,” Nils Jaeger, Volvo Autonomous Solutions president, said. “This truck is the first of our standardized global autonomous technology platform, which will enable us to introduce additional models in the future, bringing autonomy to all Volvo Group truck brands, and to other geographies and use cases.” 

Powered by the Aurora Driver, the new VNL integrates the companies’ technologies into an SAE Level 4 autonomous driving system. The Aurora Driver uses AI, dual computers, lidar that can detect objects more than 400 meters away, high-resolution cameras, imaging radar, and additional sensors, enabling the Volvo VNL Autonomous to navigate the world around it safely, company leaders said during ACT Expo.

Lion Electric launches new Class 8 EV

The Lion Electric Company unveiled the Lion8 Tractor, an electric Class 8 truck, during ACT Expo. The EV is expected to be available later this year, and the company said it offers the highest GCWR among over-the-road EVs—up to 127,000 lbs. 

With a battery capacity of up to 630 kWh, providing up to 275-mile range, it can charge up to 80% in approximately 1.5 hours. It features a 6x4 axle configuration and two integrated 2-speed e-axels. 

TICO offers EV yard spotter

TICO Manufacturing, a terminal tractor manufacturer and one of the largest terminal tractor fleet owners in North America, launched the next generation of its Pro-Spotter Electric Terminal Tractor. 

This follows TICO’s first generation electric terminal tractor developed in 2023 with Volvo Penta. The new EV yard dog features a scalable range of onboard energy levels up to 312 kWh and GCWR up to 160,000 lb. plus 61,000 ft.-lb. of wheel end torque tailored to the port operator.

Blue Bird debuts electric step van

Blue Bird Corporation, the longtime school bus OEM, debuted its battery-electric medium-duty step van during ACT Expo 2024, two years after the company announced it was entering the commercial vehicle market.

The last-mile delivery EV was built through partnerships with body-builder Morgan Olson and zero-emission equipment startup Xos. Featuring a 140 kWh lithium-ion battery, the van offers up to a 130-mile range and can recharge in as little as an hour, depending on infrastructure. Blue Bird’s prototype is based on a 178-in. wheelbase for last-mile-delivery vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 23,000 lb.

"We at Morgan Olson are looking forward to a productive collaboration with Blue Bird and Xos on the development of this step van prototype," said Mike Ownbey, Morgan Olson’s chief executive. "By combining the expertise of our industry-leading companies, we are confident that we can offer our existing and new step van customers a new chassis option that provides great value in the commercial vehicle market."

Blue Bird anticipates its electric-powered stripped chassis to be commercially available in late 2024. 

Asia’s ZM Trucks enters U.S. market

As the western brand Tokyo-based ZO Motors, ZM Trucks showed off four medium-duty zero-emission truck models and a “baby 8” heavy-duty truck during ACT Expo. 

The Asian-market production models displayed at ACT Expo included the ZM4, ZM8, ZMx FCEV, and ZM22. See below for details and basic specs on the North American versions coming later in 2024:

  • ZM4: A Class 4 electric van with a unibody design and 132 kWh HV battery
  • ZM8: A Class 6 EV, ZM8 has an almost 80-in. roof height
  • ZM8FCEV: A Class 6 fuel cell EV.
  • ZM22: A Class 8 battery-electric vehicle with a drivetrain in various Asian brands. Ground-up EV chassis designed with 264 kWh in-frame HV batteries and a 2-speed, dual motor e-axle with up to 500 kW peak power.
  • ZM22 FCEV: A Class 8 fuel cell electric vehicle with the same proven e-Axle as the battery electric ZM22 and supported by a 60 kWh in-frame HV battery.
About the Author

Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

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