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This 720 hp electric truck conversion uses battery swaps to trial clean logging in Australia

Fennell Forestry has commissioned an all-electric logging truck conversion from Janus Electric to trial the technology through the Green Triangle region of South Australia. The 720 horsepower electric truck conversion kicks off a two year testing period to analyze performance and maintenance costs as the Australian government looks on before potentially investing in a future overhaul of the segment.

Fennell Forestry is a family-owned logging contractor with over three decades of experience in state of the art harvesting in Australia, particularly the country’s premiere timber producing region referred to as the Green Triangle.

Although deforestation remains a controversial topic around the globe, Fennell Forestry is looking to implement more sustainability into its daily processes by testing the possibility of an all-electric fleet of logging trucks someday.

The company commissioned fellow Aussie Janus Electric – an electric battery developer and heavy-duty electric conversion specialist, who spent a year reconfiguring a diesel logging truck with a 540 kW motor equating to 720 horsepower.

The all-electric logging truck kicked off a two-year trial program in South Australia today, where it will be put through all the daily duties that come with harvesting timber. Check it out.

electric logging truck
Credit: ABC South East SA / Sam Bradbrook

Electric logging truck delivers first loads in Australia

ABC News south-east South Australia was on the scene as the Janus Electric logging truck conversion transported its first loads for Fennell Forestry today. Managing Director Wendy Fennell offered a walkthrough of the heavy-duty truck, explaining that she wondered if today would ever come.

Fenell stated the electric logging truck has already exceeded her expectations, but there are still plenty of questions surrounding the trucks performance and longevity that will be assessed over the course of the two year program:

This is what the trial is about: is the range going to be there? Is it going to be durable enough for our application? We’ll be monitoring the data very closely, to weigh up the costs associated with operating it.

Another organization with eyes on the electric logging truck trial is the Australian government. Fennell’s commissioning of the Janus conversion was without government funding, but South Australia Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven believes its worth exploring:

Given that South Australia is such a leader in renewable energy, it’s certainly something that deserves a closer look. What the trial will show is whether it’s going to work in the real-world situation, whether there are any disadvantages that haven’t yet been envisaged. But I think, overall, looking at this type of technology is incredibly important to make sure that we have got lower emissions going forward in as many industries as possible.

The truck itself stems from an initial concept developed by Janus Electric back in 2019 and is expected to deliver a range of 400-500 km (249-311 miles) on a single charge. If the battery runs out while more timber runs are required, the electric truck is equipped with battery-swap capabilities which only takes five minutes using a forklift.

That being said, the swaps can currently only be completed at a single location, so the truck will have to operate locally for now. Janus Electric and Fennell Forestry have declared the electric logging truck the first of its kind in Australia and only the second worldwide. We’ve previously reported on its predecessor – an all-electric timber truck from Scania that has been operating in Sweden since last summer.

Janus Electric believes today’s electric truck launch will be the first of many in Australia.

Featured image credit: ABC South East SA / Sam Bradbrook

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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