World’s second electric log truck launched in Australia

1 March 2023
Australia’s first electric log truck has arrived in Mount Gambier, as Fennell Forestry cuts a new path towards a carbon-free future for the sector.

The truck is just the second electric log truck in the world and has been commissioned by the local harvest and haulage company to provide a realistic carbon reduction solution for the heavy transport industry. Fennell Forestry unveiled the truck to stakeholders, government and industry representatives at an exclusive preview event on 28 February 2023.

Work to convert the once diesel-powered Kenworth prime mover to a fully electric battery operating system has been underway since early-2022, driven entirely by Australian technology, innovation and workmanship. And after rigorous testing, fine-tuning and anticipation, the truck is now at home in Australia’s most productive plantation forestry region – the Green Triangle.

A new charging station has been installed and tested at Fennell Forestry’s Mount Gambier depot, to ensure the vehicle can be operated and recharged as required. On-road and in-field preliminary testing has been carried out to ensure the truck can handle the demands of forest logging. Staff inductions have been held, plantation managers briefed and local emergency service crews have also previewed the new technology, ensuring everyone is ready when the truck finally hits the road.

Fennell Forestry Managing Director Wendy Fennell said the electric truck represented the first bold step towards ensuring heavy transport industry meet the Federal Government’s 2030 emissions reduction targets.

“We’ve done our groundwork and due diligence, calculating battery power, run time and carbon-emission reduction,” she said. “Now it’s time to get the truck loaded and on the road to see if the practical application measures up to the theoretical. We think it will, but will be two years before we can say our Australia-first initiative has been a success”.

“It’s an educated gamble, but one we feel compelled to take for the benefit of the heavy transport industry and future generations.”

For the New Zealand forestry and log haulage industry, Wendy Fennell from Fennell Forestry and Lex Forsyth from Janus Electric, the Australian company behind the conversion to the electric battery operating system, will be presenting as part of the major Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event running in Rotorua on 24-25 May. Details on the event, programme and registrations can be found on the event website

Notes: Transport is Australia’s second highest contributor to carbon emissions. A single diesel-powered log truck produces in excess of 500 tonnes of carbon every year. Converting to an electric engine and battery system will slash this number to zero. And when recharging using renewable energy, the environmental dividends will be even greater. The electric conversion has been completed in New South Wales by Australian company Janus Electric, to comply with the high gross combination mass requirements of Australia’s heavy transport vehicles.

About Australia’s first electric log truck

100% carbon zero when recharged using renewable energy.
Existing vehicle conversion. Battery charging technology and operating system installed on an existing truck, allowing reuse of the Kenworth prime mover chassis, axles and suspensions required for Fennell Forestry transport operations.
4 hours for full battery recharge, using the newly established on-site charging station.
“Swap-and-go” battery system, which requires the truck to be stationary for less than five minutes.
400-500km indicative battery range, dependent on operation type.
Low engine running temperature 40 degrees less than regular diesel engines.
720 horsepower and rated to meet the GCM requirements of Fennell Forestry B-Doubles.

Photo: Australia’s first electric log truck loaded with log on its maiden voyage, near Mount Gambier last week. Image courtesy of Fennell Forestry

Source: Fennell Forestry