Tesla semi-trucks on order as 2 Vancouver Island companies look to electrify fleets

We all rely on diesel-powered semi-trucks to get the products that we use up and down Vancouver Island. But now, two local companies have plans to electrify their fleets.

Mosaic Forest Management has 300 diesel-powered logging trucks in its fleet. Now, it's announced it will embark on a pilot project by using electric-powered trucks from Tesla.

“So part of the pilot project is to understand the trade-offs with the initial expense versus the savings in fuel and maintenance over time,” said Domenico Iannidinardo, vice president of forest and logistics for Mosaic Forest Management.

It will begin by adding three electric semi-trucks and will test them out in the field over the next few years.

“The pilot project here is to test out what we can do with the existing Tesla semi-trailer,” said Iannidinardo. “Then adapt it for the terrain.”

Meanwhile, a wholly different industry will also be adding electric Tesla semi-trucks to its fleet.

“We jumped on board right away to be apart of this,” said Justin Schley, vice president of Quality Foods.

Quality Foods has placed its order for three of the Tesla models. Currently, it has nine trucks in its fleet delivering food to its 13 stores across Vancouver Island and Powell River.

“Essentially we’ll be taking one-million kilometres worth of carbon off the roads as we fully electrify our fleet,” said Schley. That estimate is per year, according to Whole Foods.

To help charge the vehicles, a centralized charging facility will be built and operated in Parksville by a company called Ecowest Driven.

“This use is so great for Vancouver Island because nothing requires long hauling,” said Schley. “Having a centralized charging facility in Parksville, right in the centre of the island, is just perfect for us.”

For Mosaic, the company says the prospect of outfitting its fleet to electric makes perfect sense.

“These log trucks would be heading up into the woods empty,” said Iannidinardo. “They’d be getting loaded and on their way down the hill they would be regenerating electricity, recharging the batteries and getting set for their next trip.”

“That routine and that cycle is very good for electric capacity trucks,” he said.

Currently there is no timeline for when the Tesla semi-trucks will arrive, but it’s safe to say they will be coming to a highway near you soon.