A duo of Merritt residents have created a groundbreaking hybrid truck prototype that displays innovations and dedication to sustainability.
Edison Motors’ co-founders Eric Little and Chace Barber were inspired to create their own electric truck after Tesla didn’t release their electric truck to the public after four years since their announcement in 2016.
“They (Tesla) didn’t actually give us a timeline, a concrete date, to get our truck that we decided to take our deposit back and use those funds to build our own prototype,” Little said.
Little said the project took 24 months to build, not only one, but two trucks from the ground up. But the project faced some challenges along the way as they were “completely shocked” there isn’t a supply chain of electric vehicle parts in North America.
He also recalled how his other ventures while building and inventing things were also important for their latest project and that the process, which involves making a lot of mistakes, made them realize that making a mistake is better than not.
“We are just so pleased that every single challenge we faced, we were able to overcome with just a lot of ingenuity,” Little said.
As the duo tries their best to incorporate both the electric powertrain and a diesel generator, Little defines their prototype as a “great demonstration on how to build an electric truck without any compromise.”
The hybrid truck is a specially designed heavy-duty vehicle intended to replace traditional diesel-powered logging trucks. Little said much of the inspiration for the truck came from their mission to protect the environment.
“We thought that there was a gap in the market that we could have built these systems long ago, but they weren’t being built,” he said.
The prototype boasts features that make it unique and suitable for the rugged conditions of the logging industry. It is equipped with an electric motor and a diesel motor that promises more horsepower with a fraction of the fuel costs and emissions.
Little believes this version is the solution for now as about only 10 per cent of the industry can operate on fully electric trucks.
“We just wanted to bring another bridge technology, in this case, the electric vehicle to get logs out of the bush and into the mill and do so in a way where we actually can use the logs to our advantage,” he said.
He explained how the energy from the truck batteries is used when loggers go uphill with their empty trucks because they are still very light. After they load their trucks, loggers produce more energy going down the hill than you used going up.
“You actually end up producing more electricity while you go downhill then you burn going up. Therefore It’s a closed loop system,” Little said. “And you can actually use the logs to derive the energy to get it to the mill. And if you keep doing this in perpetuity, you can actually get logs back to the mill for a very low cost.”
Little said him and his business partner Chace Barber are very happy to achieve this goal.
“To our surprise, we, as you know, small town Merrittonians had to come up with and build ourselves,” Little said. “All we want to do is showcase to Canada, as well as to the world that this is a great and viable solution today.”
As the logging industry takes steps towards a greener future, Little hopes that their hybrid electric/diesel truck prototype will serve as a catalyst for change and help people realize that “loggers can come up with brilliant solutions to help the planet.”
“Knowing that we do come from Merritt, a small town, a logging town, we want to prove to people in our community … that we are capable of building this technology at home.”