REV Fire Group's all-electric Vector fire truck

An EV Heads To Daytona, But It’s Heavier Than Any Car That’s Ever Raced There

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When you think of Daytona International Speedway, you probably think of The Great American Race — the DAYTONA 500. As the most widely watched motorsport event, the season-opening NASCAR Cup Series naturally draws much of the attention. But what really sets this 500-acre complex — the World Center of Racing — apart is its remarkable selection. It hosts an extensive array of races and caters to a global audience. Racing events include January’s Rolex 24 At DAYTONA and Roar Before The Rolex 24, February’s DAYTONA 500 and Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth, March’s Bike Week At DAYTONA Presented By Monster Energy, featuring DAYTONA Supercross and the DAYTONA 200, and the August Coke Zero Sugar 400 weekend.

What you probably don’t think of are EVs, but there’s a small fleet of EVs that are going to participate in every race at Daytona going forward, and they’ll even spend time on the track! But, they won’t be racing.

The REV Fire Group Inc., producer of the renowned E-ONE®, KME®, Ferrara™, Spartan Fire Chassis™, Spartan Emergency Response®, Smeal™ and Ladder Tower fire apparatus brands proudly announces that its all-electric Vector fire truck will be part of the DIS (Daytona International Speedway) firefighting fleet in 2023. This exclusive partnership has now been solidified for its second year running.

The Vector isn’t Daytona’s only “green” effort. Daytona International Speedway is taking a stand on sustainability by planting more than 100 trees within view of its grandstands in April 2022. NASCAR has also championed several initiatives to further support eco-friendly practices such as recycling racing oils and race-used tires, combining biofuel sources for vehicles attending events, and improving in-venue recycling efforts.

“We are excited to provide the all-electric Vector for our Florida neighbor, Daytona International Speedway, to protect its employees, NASCAR drivers and the many fans and spectators who attend “The Great American Race” and other events,” said Mike Virnig, Vice President of the REV Fire Group, which is headquartered in Ocala, Fla. “Vector also protects the environment, making this a perfect collaboration with DIS and NASCAR and their many green initiatives designed to reduce the track and sport’s carbon footprint and promote sustainability.”

Outfitted with 327 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of automotive-grade batteries, the Vector holds the record for having the most extended electric pumping duration in all of firefighting. This design is also equipped with low battery cell placement, providing a safer and more balanced center of gravity while operating at high speeds. With its innovative features, this vehicle ensures that the fire crew can complete critical tasks without ever needing to worry about running out of power.

Vector and the other REV Fire apparatus will be present at Daytona’s iconic 500, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and Coke Zero Sugar 400. Last December marked a momentous occasion with a two-day test session for the upcoming Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) hybrid race cars that are expected to make their debut in this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Jan. 28-29.

Not REV’s First Rodeo

Late in 2020, Spartan Emergency Response — a part of REV Group, Inc. and premier manufacturer of fire apparatus — announced that Charlotte Fire Department had placed an order for the first-ever all-electric Vector™ fire truck to be seen in North Carolina, or any other southeastern state. This revolutionary vehicle is set to find home at the city’s inaugural all-electric fire house expected to commence operations in 2024.

Like the Vector at Daytona, Charlotte’s Vector is designed to provide the longest possible electric pumping duration with its 327 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of automotive grade batteries. This means that fire departments can complete their tasks using only electricity and no other sources of energy. Additionally, it has a low battery cell placement which offers improved stability while driving due to a lower center of gravity for increased safety.

Charlotte’s Station 30 is an all-electric, 14,000-square foot firehouse situated across from the Police and Fire Training Academy. The three-bay facility sprawls over two stories on a three acre site and includes Vector charging apparatus to make it fully electric.

Vector is the first all-electric North American-style fire truck, designed very similarly to Charlotte’s Smeal™ fleet of apparatus. This will enable firefighters with a smooth transition since they can easily become accustomed to Vector’s appearance and working features that remain familiar.

“We are honored to continue serving the Charlotte Fire Department, a longtime Smeal pumper and aerial customer,” said Chris Wade, Spartan Director of Sales. “Working with Fire Chief Reginald Johnson, Fleet Manager Capt. Josh Westbrooks and their teams, we are excited to partner with them on this electric fire truck and this future vision for the Queen City.”

Going further back, the company has been selling Vectors since 2021, so we can expect to start seeing its electric fire trucks in more places in the coming months.

Why Fire Trucks Are An Ideal Truck To Electrify

If you go to your local fire department and sign up to ride along with them, you’ll find that the work is usually not terribly interesting. Like all public safety work, it’s 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror. Most of the time, fire trucks drive short distances because cities can’t safely have fire stations too far from any part of the municipality. You also only rarely see large fire vehicles on the highway, so they don’t need to have road trip range.

Because they spend so much time parked and idling when away from the firehouse, there’s a lot of energy to save by switching to electric. Electric motors use no energy at idle, and the batteries can still supply all of the energy needs of a fire truck. This includes things like powering emergency equipment and pumping water.

Another thing you’ll notice at firehouses is that they need a special system of hoses to capture exhaust gases from the trucks. When they pull away, the hose automatically disconnects from the truck, so that way they don’t spit lethal exhaust into an enclosed space, but they also don’t get in the way of leaving in a hurry. Electric trucks don’t have exhaust, so that’s yet another complication that can go away.

Featured image provided by REV Fire Group.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

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