A new project will see battery-powered trucks delivering timber across Scotland, in an effort to hasten the haulage sector’s switch to green energy.

Net Zero Timhaul will put three battery electric 44-tonne Volvo timber trucks on the roads and see charging units integrated into existing fleets by businesses. These HGVs will handle both logs and sawn timber products for project partners including Scottish Forestry, JST Services and James Jones and Son.

The project will involve two types of EV timber trucks, chosen to meet the needs of each operator. The first will be an FM 4x2 tractor powered by six batteries, with a payload of 20 tonnes and requiring no en-route charging. It will have a full-width catwalk, roof beacons and a fridge in the cab. 

The second and third trucks will be FMX 6x2 tag-and-drag units with timber hydraulics/cranes, a full-width catwalk, and six batteries totalling 540 kw/h. These should offer a 22-tonne payload, with crane use. It is anticipated that charging will be required over an extended working shift.

As the battery electric vehicles (BEVs) start to appear on the road, there will be a great deal of work ongoing behind the scenes. Creel Consulting will act as a communication link between all stakeholders.

Its director Neil Stoddart said: “Net Zero Timhaul is an exciting project to be part of. In the coming years, the timber transport industry will inevitably have to use vehicle alternatives to cut carbon.

“This will require a change in attitudes towards electric vehicles from companies and hauliers, which will be easier to do with positive data and success stories.

Forestry Journal: Neil Park, Neil Stoddart, Jack Ferguson, David Bewly and Duncan Ronney in Sweden reviewing some older Volvos before test driving the E modelsNeil Park, Neil Stoddart, Jack Ferguson, David Bewly and Duncan Ronney in Sweden reviewing some older Volvos before test driving the E models (Image: PR)

“The results of the Timhaul project will be shared with the wider industry, and we will play an essential role in Scotland’s haulage decarbonisation revolution.

“The data on energy use and charging, costs, load and range will be compared with the results of diesel HGVs. By gathering this data, we can share information from battery electric HGVs with the wider forestry and transport industries, making the transition to non-fossil fuel easier for all.”

Creel Consulting is undertaking the management of Net Zero Timhaul. Scottish Forestry is contributing towards the additional costs of leasing the electric HGVs and installing the charging infrastructure. Scottish Forestry will also closely monitor the results. Battery electric timber lorries are being leased for 36 months from Volvo Truck and Bus UK existing timber transport companies: JST Services, James Jones & Sons. The third company is to be confirmed.

Through additional software, data collection will include real-time monitoring of energy consumption, charging and demand. The efficient delivery of timber to customers will remain the primary focus. Every three months, reporting will be carried out to review the project.