The future may be here, much earlier than we expected.
Mosaic Forest Management, which manages logging for TimberWest and Island Timberlands, has wanted to use electric logging trucks for a long time. Their diesel trucks produce a lot of pollution, and the company wants to be carbon neutral by 2035. But until now, no electric truck has been able to handle Vancouver Island’s mountains and logging roads.
Tesla’s new Class 8 semi-truck may just do the trick.
Mosaic has ordered three of these big Teslas as part of a test project to see if they can haul the loads and manage the roads.
Domenico Iannidinardo, Mosaic’s vice-president, said he thinks this is the first time any company has hauled logs from mountains using electric trucks. In his statement to ChekNews, he said that electric trucks might be a natural fit for Vancouver Island because so much of the remaining timber is at the tops of the mountains.
He explained why in an interview with the Campbell River Mirror: the trucks are empty when they go uphill, so they don’t need as much energy, and when they’re full, they have to brake on the way back down. The Tesla trucks have special motors on each wheel that can turn that brake power into electricity to recharge the battery. “We might not even need to plug in,” said Iannidinardo, “that’s the kind of thing we’re testing.” With a 1000 km range, the trucks can go a long way before needing a refill.
But if they do need to be recharged, these big rigs can’t just be plugged into a regular outlet. The huge batteries take 10 to 20 times the amount of power than what you get from your typical house plugin or charging station. EcoWest in Parksville is building high-powered charging stations, especially for large electric trucks and has partnered with Mosaic to help run their tests.
If all goes well, Iannidinardo says Mosaic will look at electrifying all 300 of their logging trucks, but they don’t know when that will happen. The three test trucks have been ordered, and Mosaic hopes they’ll be on the road in 2022.
In his interview with the Campbell River Mirror, Iannidinardo also said that the new trucks would look different from regular logging trucks. They look “kind of like a rocket ship” because the driver sits right in the middle of the cab.
And while they look futuristic now, they’re going to look less shiny after all the mud and rocks on the logging roads. But if they pass the test, you might be seeing more rocket ship Teslas hauling logs soon.