It is only fitting that the nation’s capital receives the first electric fire truck. Canberra will take delivery of the million-dollar vehicle next year. It will be the fourth in operation in the world — there are two in Europe and there’s one in Los Angeles.
— Jennifer Macey (@jennifermacey) October 2, 2021
The truck is being produced by the Rosenbauer company of Austria (please note that this is not the same country as Australia), which has been making fire-fighting equipment for 150 years.
The vehicle will be hybrid electric/diesel, but the main propulsion will be electric. It will come equipped with solar panels to help recharge the batteries and be plugged in whenever it’s not on duty. The truck will have about 8 to 10 hours of driving time available and recharge in 30 minutes. It comes equipped with a drone for aerial reconnaissance.
Data analysis of the busiest fire truck in the Australian Capital Territories (ACT), at Ainslie, showed that the new electric fire truck would only have to use its diesel backup at 6 incidents in a year. “Transitioning just one of our existing trucks to an electric fire truck is forecast to reduce diesel fuel consumption by about 185,000 litres over a ten year period,” ACT’s Emergency Services minister, Mick Gentleman, said.
The truck can be entered from the side, like a bus. This will cut down on knee and back injuries to firefighters. Ease of entry is further facilitated by the ability to adjust the chassis to set the ground clearance at three different levels.
The ACT United Firefighters Union has welcomed the purchase. Secretary Greg McConville said the new firefighting appliance included many features that would enhance firefighter operational capability and safety.
“It incorporates highly advanced communications and monitoring systems, including potential integration with drone technology, which will allow firefighters to gather important intelligence on the incident prior to arriving on scene,” he said. “Additionally, it includes design features that could allow the appliance to act in the role of a forward command vehicle, better co-ordinating resources to deliver a more effective emergency response.”
An electric fire truck is a win for the environment, for the wallet, and for the workers who have to use it.
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