Putting Electric Trucks to Work on National Forests
New pilot tests the effectiveness of electric trucks in rugged, remote national forestlands
December 5, 2022
Milwaukee, WI (December 2, 2022) – The Forest Service announced its new Electric Vehicle Pilot Program during an event today in Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford in Dearborn on December 2, 2022, where the first Forest Service electric vehicle delivered fresh-cut Christmas trees from the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Michigan for use by Detroit area families.
"It is appropriate to introduce our Electric Vehicle Pilot Program in the Detroit area, which is world-renown for automobile innovation," said USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. "Likewise, our electric vehicle program continues Forest Service legacy of utilizing the latest technology as a leader in research and land management."
This first-ever test of electric vehicle use in the field will help the Forest Service implement the President's Executive Order 14057 by expanding electric vehicle usage in the federal government and minimizing carbon emissions. The 12-month pilot program will test how these electric vehicles function in different operational environments on national forests.
"Our electric work truck pilot program will help us to identify the best way forward as we do our part to combat climate change and meet the Biden-Harris administration's goal of having 100% zero-emissions vehicle acquisitions by 2035," said Moore.
The Forest Service Electric Vehicle Pilot Program testing and evaluation will occur on three Eastern Region national forests: the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Michigan, and the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.
While significant research has been conducted on the perceived user experience of electric vehicles on the consumer side, relatively little is known about the barriers to uptake of electric vehicles in a work or commercial setting. The current project will assess both objective and subjective impacts of electric vehicles as Forest Service personnel conduct their duties over a twelve-month period.
Employees will utilize the vehicles during day-to-day field operations and fill out weekly surveys describing how the vehicles were used, weather conditions they were used in, road types such as gravel, snow, sand and mud, any maintenance issues, overall usefulness for the work being done, and employees' perceptions.
The yearlong research cycle will inform the Forest Service of seasonal trends in electric vehicle usage and performance in the National Forest System field operating environment.