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Gilles Laplante, Whiskey Jack co-owner
Transportation management Case study | 11-minute read

“We saw the trend for EVs and we wanted to pioneer.”

Company name Whiskey Jack
Industry Transport and logistics
Company size 1-5 employees
+3 electric trucks purchased by 2023
+ 2 mobile charging units custom built for the company
2 successful government grants supporting cleaner heavy-duty transportation

Whiskey Jack supplies electric trucks for the movie industry

Gilles Laplante, CEO: Electric trucks are good for the environment, and plus—using them means we can work around the clock because they’re quiet and don’t break noise curfews. 

Richard Greenhalgh, COO: The film industry uses a lot of medium- to heavy-duty trucks to move timber and equipment, so going electric reduces the carbon emissions from filming. At Whiskey Jack, we aim to be a pioneer in the film industry by supplying sustainable, zero-emission transportation to film sets.


Purchasing electric trucks costs a lot of money

Richard: We want to provide the safest and most reliable electric vehicles, but it doesn’t come cheap.

What we did

Built the company’s internal combustion engine (ICE) fleet first

Richard: Whiskey Jack has two components to its fleet: ICE and electric-powered. We have 47 gasoline and diesel fleet pieces. We started with just two vehicles and built it up. Now our fleet has pickups, 1-ton, 3-ton, 5-ton cube trucks, and super-B trucks with 50-feet tandem trailers.

Gilles: Our model was to come in with a comparative price differentiation, which allowed us to be competitive in transportation for the film business. That allowed us to start putting investment capital aside to purchase the electric trucks. It took about five years of operating ICE vehicles to get to the point where we can purchase electric vehicles.

Apply for government incentives for extra funding

Richard: We applied for SUVI (now Go Electric Rebates) and the CVP (CleanBC Go Electric Commercial Vehicle Pilots Program). The government grant is what made it possible for us to be competitive at a diesel price level.

How it turned out

3 new battery electric vehicles (BEV) added to the fleet

Whiskey Jack currently owns four electric vehicles: three classic cube trucks, and one trailer that we converted into a mobile charging unit.

Successfully applied for provincial funding from the Government of British Columbia

Whiskey Jack received a six-figure grant from the CVP program. Overall, the program has a budget of $89 million over seven years.

Want to do something similar? Learn more about electrifying your fleet.


We need a way to charge our electric trucks in remote locations

Gilles: Our electric trucks function just like any other truck, but we need a way to alleviate the anxiety of having enough battery to get from point A to B if that distance proves to be quite large. On the road, the drivers can find charging stations through an app that shows all the different chargers and their level of power. But the problem is that Level II car chargers are more ubiquitous compared to the faster Level III rapid chargers. That’s the bottleneck of charging infrastructure for bigger vehicles.

What we did

Built a first-of-its-kind mobile charging unit

Richard: Our initial project for Whiskey Jack was to design a giant battery that can come to set and power it every day. We knew when we'reß getting into electric trucks that the main problem would be on how to re-energize them. If you're filming in a remote area, you can't just take off to go find a charging station.

Gilles: But the problem with a giant battery on wheels is that it’s not as robust as it could be. Maybe some of them can fully charge a truck, but they’re clunky. We came up with a new ide instead: a mobile charging unit.

How do I describe what it looks like? It’s a 16-feet trailer with a lot of components. It has re-energizing guns going outside the trailer windows or the main door that comes down. You can walk inside of it. We designed it so it could work regardless of how the producer was powering their film set. All the components are designed to pull the trailer up to where it can be tied to either an existing electric grid infrastructure or a generator. Once it’s connected, it powers a Level III charger that you can plug into your truck. Our first prototype was a 60-kilowatt charger that could charge a Class 6 truck in four hours.

We call it a mobile charging unit because that’s what it is. It's basically like a Tesla charging station but all boxed into a little trailer that just goes where it needs to go. Or it’s like bringing your own gas pump to wherever you need to go to fill your tank with gas that you find. It’s probably the first of its kind in Western Canada. I don’t know anybody else that has anything like this.

Richard: We came up with the plan and then worked with some long-time colleagues. They’re electric engineers who had set up all the electrical infrastructure for the big studios in Vancouver. They helped us figure out the technical details as well the safety mechanisms, charger and inverter and all the different things to make it safe. And that’s how we got our Canadian Safety Standards sticker.

How it turned out

Built 2 models of mobile charging units for electric trucks

One model is a 60-kilowatt charger, the second one combines two 30-kilowatt chargers. Earlier in 2023, Whisky Jack took the second model on a successful pilot trip from Vancouver to Kelowna.

Want to learn more about EV charging? Discover how to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for your business.

Co-owners Gilles Laplante and Richard Greenhalgh with EV trucks


Our clients are not used to hiring electric trucks

Gilles: Our biggest challenge is penetrating the middle of the industry: getting to the small- to medium-sized productions that are under $10 million. But although people like the idea of carbon reduction, in the end people want to save money and reduce risk. And then the 2023 writers’ strike happened, which also slowed things down in the film industry. Right now we’re not seeing producers get excited about using electric trucks yet.

What we did

Decided to take a longer return on our investment

Richard: Moving from ICE vehicles to EVs is like the era when we moved from horse-and-buggy to cars. To get into people’s comfort zones financially, you have to make it feel easy, like going from apples to apples.

We considered taking a shorter return on our money, but we really looked at purpose over profit in this particular case. We knew that we needed a cultural change in our business. If something costs more money, then producers aren’t going to get on board. If we make it competitive and help them save money, then they’re going to get on board. We don’t mind taking a longer time to recoup our money as long as we’re pioneering and we are the change.

How it turned out

Cost of rental between electric trucks and diesel trucks are comparable

Whiskey Jack decided to keep the rental costs of an electric truck roughly the same as it would be for a diesel truck, which gives their client the bonus of not paying for diesel or gas.

Want to do something similar? Learn more about electrifying your fleet.

Our roadmap


Richard: Like most superheroes, we also have day jobs. In Gilles and mine’s case, we’re also movie producers. Whiskey Jack started because we were doing low-budget Canadian movies, and we found that as the film industry grew in Vancouver, the prices just kept going higher and higher. When you’re managing a $1.5 million budget for a whole movie, every dollar counts.

Gilles and I did the math one day for how much it would take for us to manage the transport and logistics side ourselves to drive the numbers down. In my opinion, we could do it better and more efficiently. We joined forces, incorporated, and started that way as a partnership.

It started with us getting 2 trucks. One 3-ton and one 5-ton truck, both diesel. And we built from there. Every dollar went back into the business. That’s how Whiskey Jack started: out of necessity.


Richard: We made our first acquisitions for our internal combustion engine (ICE) fleet from another film company that was looking to get out of the business. We acquired around 20 assets in 2020. Not all the pieces in our fleet were vehicles. We have tractors, trailers, medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Gilles: Although we always wanted zero-emissions electric vehicles, we started off purchasing ICE vehicles because that allowed us to operate while building the capital to then invest into electric.


Richard: We got some support from the government of British Columbia under their Commercial Vehicle Pilots (CVP) program, which went to the purchase of our first electric trucks.

March 2023

Richard: If you’re filming in a remote location, you can’t just take off to recharge. We designed and built a mobile-charging unit that we use to re-energize our trucks. In March we tested a 60-kilowatt model, and since then we unraveled that model and rebuilt it to spec to work out some kinks.

June 2023

Richard: We took the second model of the mobile-charging unit on a trial run for one of my movies shooting in Kelowna, about four or five hours away from Vancouver. We wanted to see if we can successfully do it in a day to account for stopping, charging up, that sort of thing.

August 2023

Richard: Right now, we have plans to build out our electric trucks so they can carry specialized equipment as a camera truck or a props truck. Once the industry is kind of back on its feet, we’ll be looking to grow.

Another avenue we’re exploring for the future is to help film sets use fewer disposable plastics. Catering in the film industry creates a lot of garbage. We’re considering outfitting a truck to bring reusable eating utensils for film sites and washing them on-site, powering the dishwashers with electricity. Big things are ahead.

Whiskey Jack employee using a charging station

Richard and Gilles’ final thoughts

Gilles: My advice to another entrepreneur would be, don't bifurcate yourself with distractions. Focus wholly on your business and get a mentor. Listen to that mentor. Trust your instincts.

I’ve done anything elsewhere other the film industry. I’m a movie producer, so I’ve always been focused on my film career without any distraction. Your business needs a lot on a daily basis in order to grow. And if you can't be there for it, then you're just doing yourself a disservice.

Richard: Looking back at Whiskey Jack’s history, I’d say that we saw the trend for EVs and we wanted to pioneer. We had worked on the electric truck project for over two years to get it to the point where we're ready to bring it to market. I don't think I would have done anything different or told myself anything different, except to hold the faith and be patient.

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