New Zealand’s first electric water truck drives into action at Eastland Port

New Zealand’s first electric water truck drives into action at Eastland Port

Eastland Port are the proud owners of New Zealand’s first electric water truck, one of the largest road legal electric trucks in the country.

The water truck is deployed daily to depress dust on the log yard and is an essential part of port operations.

“Using an electric water truck in its operations is helping Eastland Port reduce carbon emissions and is part of our commitment to sound environmental practices,” said Eastland Group chief operating officer regional infrastructure, Andrew Gaddum.

“Other benefits include lower maintenance costs than a normal combustion diesel vehicle, lower running costs – and, it’s quiet.

“Like a lot of new technology there were a few teething issues to sort out, but these have now been resolved and it’s performing beyond our expectations. In terms of run times and delivery of water, it’s fantastic.

“From a driver’s comfort point of view, it’s very easy to drive and extremely comfortable. It’s just got a drive – an accelerator and a brake. I drove it the other day and it’s incredible. It’s as easy as driving an automatic car.”

The electric truck replaces a Diesel 1996 Mitsubishi Fuso truck with a 13,000 litre water tank fitted to the back. The old water truck consumed 287 litres of diesel over a 35-day period. Using the EECA CO2 emissions calculator, which estimates the amount of CO2 created by burning fossil fuels, the old vehicle produced 0.77 tonnes of CO2 over this same 35-day period.

“We’ve bought it as a trial and there are definitely other areas of our business that we can see the technology being applicable to,” said Mr Gaddum.

“We wanted to get this one up and running to see how it performs for a year or so and then figure out whether we could use EVs in other parts of our fleet, like moving logs around or to the port.”

A 60kW fast-charging station has also been installed at Eastland Port for the water truck.

The electric water truck and charger have been partially funded by a grant from the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund (LEVCF) administered by EECA (Energy, Efficiency and Conservation Authority).

Now the electric truck is in action at Eastland Port, it is expected to attract attention and inspire innovation across many diesel-dominated industries.

“Our electric water truck is at the leading edge in transport, so all sorts of companies throughout the country are interested in seeing how it’s performing,” added Mr Gaddum.

The use of a low emissions EV water truck aligns with the aims of the Climate Leaders Coalition which Eastland Group and its shareholder, Trust Tairāwhiti, joined in 2019.

“We believe that we can be a leader in steering Tairāwhiti towards zero carbon through renewable energy and facilitating the transition to electric vehicles,” said Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd.

“We envisage a future where logging trucks, and other heavy vehicles in the logistics and marine sectors, move from internal combustion engines to electric models. The introduction of this electric water truck at the port is a very positive first step on this journey.”