BC lumberjacks build North America’s first semi-electric logging truck
It seems like a good example of the kind of incremental technologies we're going to need to get us all the way to net zero.
Here’s a cool story from close to home: a couple of logging industry workers from Merritt, British Columbia have launched their own truck manufacturing company making North America's first hybrid electric heavy-duty trucks for use in the logging, gravel and cement industries. The company also retrofits existing truck chassis to work with their electric drive systems – and offer solar-panel-covered trailers to function as a "mobile power plant" for long-haul transport trucks.
According to this Coast Reporter article, transportation is the most fuel-consuming part of the forest products supply chain and is responsible for about 50% of total fuel usage and more than 25 percent of business costs, so switching to this kind of semi-electric heavy-duty truck could lower emissions from hauling logs and machinery etc. by 50% while slashing fuel costs by 50%-70%. Gotta love smart business decisions that can also help the environment.
What I especially love about this story is that to help them launch their business, the two founders received $1.5-million in funding from more than 5,000 people, 90 per cent of whom were truckers or small- to mid-sized trucking companies. (Not to mention the fact that the founders built North America’s first semi-electric logging truck in a tent warehouse on a dirt floor!) Seems like a lot of people in these industries want to switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles that will have a positive impact on the climate.
I know that some people might think that investing in hybrid transportation options that still burn fossil fuels is a mistake, given our need to reach net-zero carbon as soon as humanly possible. But since some of the world’s most important industries need heavy-duty trucks and other machinery in order to function (and for us to have nifty things like houses, roads, buildings, and technology) – and that alternative fuel sources for such machinery still seem to be years away from becoming more widely available – I think that incremental solutions such as these hybrid trucks are valuable and I really appreciate the loggers’ drive and ingenuity in launching this new business. Here's hoping their trucks live up to their claims and that the company does well. 🤘