Red and white wine will soon be transported in a greener way.

The SAQ has purchased Quebec's first fully electric Class 8 truck to handle some of its deliveries.

Made entirely in Quebec, the truck costs more than $300,000, and even though that's much more than a diesel truck, Environment Minister Benoit Charette said it’s worth it.

“We cannot take only into consideration the cost of the vehicle but the whole operation after that, and electric cars and electric trucks give great opportunities on that level,” he said at the unveiling of the truck in St-Jerome on Monday.

Operating the vehicle will save companies money in the long run and help protect the environment, said Marc Bedard of manufacturer Electric Lion.

“Rule of thumb is that you will be saving like 80 per cent in energy and 60 per cent in maintenance,” he said.

So far, the only buyer is the SAQ.

The provincial liquor retailer has been criticized for refusing other environmental initiatives, such as recycling wine bottles, which is done in other provinces.

Bottle recycling at liquor stores would be too costly, the SAQ said, and ultimately create more pollution.

That’s why it thinks electric trucks are a better step, explained Edith Walcott, the SAQ’s head of distribution.

“For us, it's important to have a positive impact on society and to respect the environment,” she said.

Not a long-haul vehicle

Lion's E-truck can travel a maximum of 400 kilometres on a single charge – but that’s not enough for many business needs.

Still, the market for this vehicle is big enough for the truck to be a success, claims the manufacturer.

“45 per cent of this market is for the city trucks, so less than 400 kilometres,” said Bedard. “So it’s a huge market.”

It's an important step in promoting sustainable transportation, posits Charette.

The Legault government has been accused of inaction on climate change. Even if putting one electric truck on the road is an admittedly small step, Charette said he plans to prove the critics wrong.

“Our government is really serious about its intention and its goal to fight climate change,” he said.