Quality Foods plans to use electric trucks to help reduce its environmental footprint. (Photo courtesy Quality Foods)

Quality Foods plans to use electric trucks to help reduce its environmental footprint. (Photo courtesy Quality Foods)

Two big Vancouver Island-based firms switching to electric transport trucks

Charging stations for Tesla Semis to be built for Quality Foods and Mosaic Forest Management

Two major Vancouver Island companies are planning to electrify their semi-truck fleets in an effort to reduce their environmental footprint.

Quality Foods and Mosaic Forest Company are teaming with EcoWest Driven, a new Parksville company formed specifically to introduce electric semi-trucks to the transportation industry. They will be the first two businesses on Vancouver Island to give Tesla Semi electric transport trucks a try.

“We’re starting with three with the intent to fully electrify our fleet,” said Justin Schley, vice-president of Quality Foods. “Short-term is three and then medium-term would be nine or 10 and then the rest.”

To support the Tesla trucks, EcoWest Driven will establish, later this fall, a charging station that will have 45 commercial chargers and a service garage at its property on Angel Road in Parksville.

The goal in switching to electric trucks, Schley explained, is not about saving money but more about Quality Foods being an environmentally responsible company.

READ MORE: B.C. electric vehicle sales charge ahead in pandemic 2020

“Operationally it would be similar,” said Schley. “The benefit is really the environmental benefit without costing you any more. So it’s really a win-win from both angles. We drive about a million kilometres a year. So that’s a million kilometres of emissions saved and carbon off the roads.”

Schley said the downtime expected on the electric trucks would be minimal as the batteries don’t break down and have very few moving parts. The trucks have an advertised travel range of close to 1,000 kilometres, which Schley said will allow them to deliver to all their stores on Vancouver Island without charging.

“It’s perfect for the Island because the trucks go out, they don’t travel more than 500 kilometres in a day and and then they get to come home and charge overnight and then it starts all again the next day,” he said. “We will be able to deliver more timely and be able to deliver similar hauls and the charging hub would be in Parksville. It will work so perfectly here.”

Schley said there’s no timeline when the electric trucks would be available but added “it’s coming in the near future. It’s sooner than later.”

Mosaic Forest Company, based in Nanaimo, will also be the first to try electric logging trucks. Its goal is to play a significant role in addressing climate change and achieving carbon neutrality by 2035.

“Electrifying our log hauling fleet is a significant step in that direction” said Jeff Zweig, president and CEO of Mosaic Forest Management. “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.

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Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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