Scottish Forestry has awarded £452,000 towards a three-year trial which will test the use of electric trucks to transport timber.
As part of the project, the first of its kind in the UK, James Jones & Sons will trial a 40 tonne articulated Volvo electric truck from its sawmill in Lockerbie to transport timber to its national distribution centre in Hangingshaws.
In addition, Scotlog Haulage will trial a 44 tonne Volvo electric truck in the Highlands, moving roundwood timber from Inverness Harbour to West Fraser and other local mills.
During the trial, the vehicles will be evaluated by Creel Maritime consultants for their achievable mileage versus battery consumption, durability, viability and total cost of ownership.
The two new Volvo electric timber vehicles are currently being manufactured in Gothenburg and are expected to be ready for use later this summer.
About seven million tonnes of wood are harvested from Scotland’s forests each year and transported to sawmills, board manufacturers and other processors, mostly on 44 tonne diesel trucks.
Neil Stoddart, director of Creel Maritime, who are managing the project, said, “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.”