Last year and last month, I wrote about Volvo Penta and Rosenbauer developing an electric fire truck. They’re not the only team in town working to electrify firefighters, though. More recently, Oshkosh Corporation has announced that it is working to get electric fire trucks into fire stations across the United States — starting in Wisconsin. It is also offering electric trucks for other emergency vehicle services. The trucks are being built on a new “Volterra” platform.
The company notes that this latest electrification effort follows a long-term trend of electrifying products at the company — though, it’s unclear how much that refers to hybridization versus full electrification. “With more than two decades of electrification experience, we will continue to introduce electric vehicles and products that are environmentally responsible and purpose-built to enhance safety, productivity and performance,” said John Pfeifer, Oshkosh Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to serving the municipal and airport fire and emergency markets with the Volterra platform of electric vehicles.”
As someone outside of the fire truck industry, I can’t say that all of the terminology in the following statement is clear, but I do know what “first” means, and that is an impressive accomplishment in a country as large as the United States. “The first Pierce® Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed on duty with the City of Madison Fire Department in Wisconsin, making this the first electric fire truck in service in North America. The Volterra pumper is serving front line duty at Station 8, the City of Madison’s busiest fire station, supporting a population of over 250,000.”
The second “electric” firefighting vehicle Oshkosh mentions is actually a hybrid vehicle that has not been unveiled yet. It is the Striker® Volterra performance hybrid Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle, which is going to have showings at airports across the country for firefighters who want to have a close-up look. That sounds like fun, but I’d be more interested in a ride in the 100% fully electric fire truck. That’s got to be a fun truck!
Image courtesy of Oshkosh Corporation