Forest management company, Mosaic, is partnering with startup service provider, EcoWest Driven, to use electric semi-trucks in Mosaic’s logging operations on Vancouver Island
The densely forested backcountry of British Columbia may not be the first place electric vehicle watchers think to search out a Tesla Semi truck. But thanks to a dynamic local Vancouver Island partnership, those vehicles are expected to soon be helping a Canadian forestry operator to get a little greener.
The partners are Mosaic Forestry Management, a Vancouver-headquartered company that manages the timber holdings of two affiliated Vancouver Island logging companies, and EcoWest Driven, a recently incorporated electric semi-truck and charging service provider. Their effort, centred around EcoWest’s charging hub in Parksville, B.C., north of Nanaimo, will allow Mosaic to utilize an undisclosed number of Tesla Semi trucks as log haulers.
“We are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035 and electrifying our log hauling fleet is a significant step in that direction” said Jeff Zweig, president and CEO of Mosaic Forest Management in a company press release. “B.C. is a global centre of excellence in forestry, and we are proud to work with our local partner, EcoWest Driven, on this important project.”
Filling a gap
Many specialty heavy vehicle fleet operators — like Mosaic — are looking to transition to electric, but they are running up against the same issue: sometimes there just isn’t an easy electric equivalent to replace their existing diesel fleet vehicles. There are electric log haulers that have been developed in Europe, but, as yet, none have been put into production. This leaves forestry companies like Mosaic trying to fill a gap in the market using more readily available heavy truck option. The catch is that not all heavy trucks are able to withstand the rough terrain on Vancouver Island back country and logistically even being able to build out a charging network to support an electric fleet is challenging.
Once upon a time these problems may have grounded any dreams Mosaic had of becoming carbon neutral. But by drawing on the combination of its corporate will for a cleaner, greener future and EcoWest’s ambition to start deploying electric semi-trucks in the region, they are poised to make that vision a reality.
“We have begun the process of creating charging infrastructure and a new electric vehicle maintenance facility in Parksville, B.C.,” says Jarvis Shaver, director and cofounder of EcoWest Driven, in a press release. This move will, says Shaver, “accommodate this new demand for emission-free heavy haulers.”
According to information on EcoWest’s website, Mosaic is one of four companies that have signed on to help build out this phase of its electric truck leasing and charging concept. Besides logging, other applications include grocery delivery and material hauling.
EcoWest says it placed its order for Tesla Semis in 2018 and that its Parksville hub will have up to 45 charging stalls. When the venture will scale-up is hard to say, given that Tesla recently announced it wouldn’t begin mass production of the Semi before 2022, due to limited battery cell availability. But the company is thinking long term.
“EcoWest intends to play its part in reducing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels by encouraging the transportation industry to convert to semi-trucks powered by electricity,” its website says. “Once the trucks are proven capable, we will begin expanding across the Island, and beyond.”
Working with Mosaic, in particular, to pioneer a new application for electric trucks in a new location promises to not only be a boon for the companies involved, but sets an example globally.