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World premiere for SCA’s electric timber truck

World premiere for SCA’s electric timber truck
SCA first to test electric truck in timber haulage (photo courtesy Henke Olofsson).

In Sweden, forest industry major Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA) has revealed that it has conducted test driving with an electric timber truck from Scania in the forest in order to transport wood. It is the first time ever that an electric timber truck is being used practically in forest haulage.

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SCA and Scania’s electric timber truck has been in operation since midsummer 2022 and runs five days a week between Gimonäs timber terminal and SCA’s kraftliner mill in Obbola, a 30 km roundtrip.

We wanted to test the truck on a forest road to see how it works – and it went very well. The truck has worked very well and our drivers find it quiet and easy to drive, said Anton Ahlinder, Business Developer at Industrial Supply, SCA Skog.

The project is part of a national initiative where leading Swedish players have joined forces to accelerate the transition to electrified emission-free heavy road transport.

The initiative, led by CLOSER, receives co-financing from the Vehicle Strategic Research and Innovation (FFI) program through Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency, and the Swedish Transport Agency.

Forest environment

SCA wanted to test the electric timber truck in a forest environment and when there was a suitable place at a good distance from Umeå, they saw the possibility of being able to carry out some test runs.

The harvesting was on forest land in Djäkneböle outside Umeå, where we had felled for a private forest owner. The forest road is a couple of kilometers long and has both a sharper curve and a slight incline, so it felt like a suitable environment to try out the electric timber truck there. It was particularly successful in that it was also in a winter climate. The whole route was about 60 km round trip, twice as long as the normal trips between the terminal and Obbola said Anton Ahlinder.

On the morning of March 2, 2023, the electric timber truck drove out to the landing site where it loaded approximately 44 tonnes of logs and then it started driving back towards Obbola. A little later in the day, a second run was carried out and then they tried to load a little heavier.

It was very good to drive and I didn’t experience any major difference even though it was a forest road. The truck drove as quietly and smoothly as usual, even though there was snow and a little ice on the road. It wasn’t many years ago that we started talking about an electric operation on timber trucks. At the time it felt far away but now we are already here and it is reality. Development goes fast, commented driver Göran Grundberg, who is the owner of Grundberg’s trucking company, which drives the electric timber truck for SCA.

Reduce climate impact

SCA and Skogforsk, which studies the performance of the vehicle, were satisfied with the trial.

It is a very important step in our journey towards fossil-free transportation. Our forests, forestry, and forest products have long created a major climate benefit. We have successfully worked towards freedom from fossil fuels in our industries, therefore we are keen to also find fossil-free solutions for more sustainable heavy truck transports, said Susanne Rutqvist, who in her role as climate lead acts as SCA’s spokesperson on climate issues.

For SCA, electrification of heavy transport is an important part of being able to reduce climate impact.

This single electric timber truck alone means that SCA can reduce emissions by approximately 5.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year – so there are big benefits for the environment to be made. These test drives with the electric truck show that it is also possible to drive on electricity out in the forest at suitable distances. But in order to continue the development towards large-scale electric transports, the charging infrastructure needs to be reviewed and developed in the areas in which we operate, Susanne Rutqvist said.

During the drive, some measurements were made, for example, to see the electricity consumption.

It looked very good and we are very satisfied with this world premiere, concluded Anton Ahlinder.

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