Image of Origin Sustainability's electric truck

The deployment of Origin’s first Class 6 electric truck and the launch of its carbon credits trading program leans into sustainable regional transportation solutions in British Columbia

Origin Sustainability, a new Vancouver-based company, is looking to bring fully zero-emission electric trucking services to a market dominated by urban rollouts from major companies such as FedEx and Purolator in British Columbia.

The company launched in January 2023. It aims to build a fleet of zero-emission trucks dedicated to local regional deliveries for local companies.

Last month, Origin incorporated its first battery-electric vehicle — a zero-emission Lion Electric Class 6 truck — into its fleet. The truck will make deliveries across the Okanagan Valley for Westwood Cabinetry.

“The idea behind Origin is ‘let’s provide the trucking industry [in Canada]with a 100 per cent net zero service,'” says Alex Norman, co-founder of Origin Sustainability, in an interview with Electric Autonomy.

Norman says he noticed the absence of any company providing a fully net-zero delivery service [in British Columbia]. He wanted Origin to fill the gap.

To support its electric truck, Origin has installed a DC fast charger at Westwood’s factory, located in Kelowna. The electric truck, according to Origin, will reduce emissions by up to 34 tonnes of CO2 annually. That is equivalent to taking seven cars off the road every year.

The “right fit”

Westwood Cabinetry specializes in manufacturing custom kitchen cabinetry and millwork across the Okanagan Valley. Origin’s electric truck will be delivering cabinetry and millwork to Westwood’s customers.

“We’re thrilled to offer a zero-emission delivery service, the first of its kind in the Okanagan Valley. Our partnership with Origin furthers our mission to deliver the best possible product to our customers,” says Jason Lowe, Westwood’s Okanagan Sales Manager, in a press release.

The partnership between Origin and Westwood was formed of a familial tie — Norman’s grandfather founded Westwood Cabinetry. But beyond that connection, Westwood’s operations proved to be ideal for Origin’s zero-emission service.

“I think the technology is still at a stage where you do need the right fit,” says Norman.

“[Westwood] is a perfect fit in terms of application. They’re local, their freight isn’t too heavy and they have a warehouse…It’s basically return-to-base [for charging] every single day.”

Expanding services

Origin wants to create a local regional delivery service with electric trucks. That means finding more partners to expand its customer base in B.C.

Norman says Origin is having conversations with third-party logistic companies, e-commerce fulfillment companies and other appliance companies about partnerships.

By next year, he says they expect to have three to five more electric trucks in their fleet.

“Our hypothesis was: once people see that this is possible and once people see that this is successful, we’re really hopeful that others will come out and say, ‘Hey, we see this working, we think this has really neat and we want to be a part of this,'” says Norman.

“And I think our hypothesis is ringing true now. We’re seeing some inbound sales to Origin and people looking to us provide this service.”

Origin also plans to decarbonize its fleet by incorporating zero-emission vehicles other than battery electric ones.

“What we really want to try and do is decarbonize the entire supply chain for our customers. Not just the local regional routes, but also the provincial or national routes,” says Norman. “Our hope is, as we can bring on trucks powered by natural gas and hydrogen fuel cell trucks within the next one to two years.”

The company is pursuing funding through the second stream of the federal government’s Green Freight Program. If approved, Origin plans to potentially acquire a Cummins X15N engine vehicle, powered by natural gas. That would allow it to extend its fleet services to areas like Vancouver and Washington state, says Norman.

Carbon credit trading

In addition to growing its zero-emission vehicle fleet, Origin’s business offerings also include aggregating and trading carbon credits through B.C.’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program (LCFS) on behalf of its clients.

The B.C. LCFS aims at reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels used in the province. Under the LCFS, fuel suppliers are required to decrease the average carbon intensity of their fuels to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in 2030. They can achieve this by either adopting low-carbon or renewable fuels or by purchasing credits generated by providers of low-carbon alternatives.

“Part of our plan all along was once we had our charger installed [in Kelowna], and once we were actually could participate in the B.C.’s LCFS ourselves, we wanted to start doing it on other people’s behalf as well,” says Norman.

During the fall, Origin picked up roughly 10 customers, including truck and car dealerships, trucking companies and municipalities that are also using low-carbon fuels to take part in its carbon credit trading service.

“Our goal would be to become the household name in British Columbia and in Canada, eventually, for carbon credit trading and aggregation,” says Norman.