First UK Electric Timber Truck Gets £452k of Funding

Scottish Forestry announces its plan to fund a three-year trial project to test state-of-the-art electric timber trucks as an alternative mode of transport. 

This flagship commercial electric vehicle (EV) project is the first of its kind in the UK. It will see two major Scottish timber companies, James Jones & Sons Ltd and Scotlog Haulage, collaborate alongside Volvo Group and Cleaner EV as technology partners.

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Electrifying commercial vehicles is paramount. Currently, diesel lorries weighing 44 tonnes transport around seven million tonnes of wood from Scotland’s forests each year to sawmills, board manufacturers, and other processors. 

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“Forestry is vital to helping Scotland achieve its net zero target by 2045.  Around 7.6 million tonnes of harmful CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere from Scotland’s trees each year and the timber used in houses and other wooden products lock away carbon for its lifetime.

The forestry sector is innovative and always using new technology to increase its business efficiencies. I welcome this new trial and look forward to hearing more about the findings as we drive closer to Net Zero.”

During the three-year trial period, the electric lorries will be monitored and evaluated for their achievable mileage versus battery consumption, durability, viability, and total cost of ownership. Creel Maritime consultants will oversee the project and arrange knowledge exchange opportunities for the partners involved.

Two new Volvo electric timber vehicles will be used for the trial, with James Jones & Sons Ltd and Scotlog Haulage trialling one each. 

James Jones & Sons Ltd will use a 40-tonne articulated lorry to transport timber roughly 100 miles from their sawmill in Lockerbie to their national distribution centre. Scotlog Haulage will use a 44-tonne truck in the Highlands to move roundwood timber from Inverness Harbour to West Fraser and other local mills. 

Projects like this are the culmination of years of work across multiple sectors to bring these heavyweight commercial EVs into existence, and onto the road. Now, the national rollout of such vital steps towards net zero entirely depends on the data gathered during these real-world trials. 

Neil Stoddart, Director of Creel Maritime, who are managing the project, added:

“In terms of road haulage, the timber industry is pretty advanced in looking for solutions to decarbonise. For example, we are reducing diesel lorry miles on many projects and opting for transport by sea. Additionally we are reviewing using an alternative fuelled barge to transport logs across a remote Loch in the Highlands.

This is a very exciting project but there are big challenges in running articulated lorries on electric power, mainly on cost grounds and infrastructure. This three year trial will look into all these aspects and I’m keen to share as much detail on this with the industry.”

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