As our industry continues to be highly focused on the day-to-day concerns related to COVID-19, we have also begun to look to the future of our industry as well. One project that was under development pre-COVID that has come back to the fore during the past few weeks is truck electrification.
Why truck electrification? In Manitoba, there is a lot of potential for such projects due to our abundance of renewable hydro-electric resources. A strong transportation network is vital to ensuring that all of Manitoba’s communities are connected. If the transportation industry can play a part in efficiently reducing our carbon footprint by making use of a readily available renewable resource, we want in. Since 95% of all freight moved in Manitoba spends at least some time on a truck, we are looking at the viability of electrification of several different trucking modes, including long and short haul work.
Of course there are challenges with such a move, particularly our long, cold winters. Therefore, we look forward to participating in demonstration projects that will ensure that truck electrification is a realistic option in Manitoba. We have seen other green initiatives proposed that failed to take into consideration just how hard our winters can be; therefore, we want to be certain that this is the right tool in Manitoba’s trucking industry.
While we have a number of i’s to dot and t’s to cross, what we envision is a demonstration project that wraps up (and proves or improves upon the viability of electric trucks as an option in Manitoba) around the same time that electric trucks are an option for the mass market. Before they reach the mass market, though, we want to know, what are the maintenance issues of these trucks when they operate in Manitoba? What is their range, in all seasons? What are the issues we haven’t anticipated? What anticipated issues have become non-issues as we run the pilot project? What are the financial and policy impacts for industry and government? It is an exciting opportunity, and we look forward to moving it along.
Members with questions are encouraged to contact us. Non-members, if you want a say in the direction of Manitoba’s trucking industry, it’s time to join the Manitoba Trucking Association. Contact us at 204-632-6600.