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First heavy-duty electric truck rolls into Manitoba

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A Winnipeg-based trucking company is making history, revealing the province's first heavy-duty electric truck. Marek Tkach reports – Oct 15, 2021

A Winnipeg-based trucking company is making history with the province’s first heavy-duty electric truck.

Gardewine Group Inc. has transformed a vehicle almost 20 years old into the first electric truck of its kind in Manitoba.

“This truck in the coming months will operate throughout the yard,” said Darin Downey, president and CEO of Gardewine Group. “It will back trailers into the docks. It’ll run 20 hours a day approximately five days a week.”

The province chipped in $150,000 for the project from its Conservation and Climate Fund.

Downey said the industry needs to lead this and the government should support it.

“While we don’t believe this model is feasible from a financial standpoint, we do believe that as good corporate citizens we need to take this step forward.”

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READ MORE: Federal government announces electric vehicle chargers coming to Southern Manitoba, Winnipeg

Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association, said he hopes it will set the tone for other businesses across the province.

“Everybody understands that truck transportation needs to evolve,” Shaw said. “It’s not as simple as going to the electric truck store and buying an electric, so clearly there’s been a lot of time, effort and thought put into this acquisition.”

According to the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association, the number of electric vehicles on Manitoba roadways has increased dramatically this year, but that’s after a slow start in years prior compared with other provinces.

“Quebec is a great example,” said Robert Elms, president of the association. “There are over 140 companies employing over 6,000 people manufacturing electric vehicles, charging equipment and other associated EV technologies.”

He said the government and private sector should look towards colleges and universities across the province to further explore opportunities for electric innovation.

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