The Los Angeles Fire Department recently unveiled a new Rosenbauer RT pumper truck during the city’s annual Fire Service Day.
Although the Los Angeles Daily News described the vehicle as the US’s “first all-electric fire engine,” it is in fact a hybrid, as a company spokesman clarified in a video. The batteries can operate the truck for about two hours, after which the diesel engine kicks in.
One battery pack is bottom-mounted, and another is mounted vertically in the center of the vehicle. An optional electric power supply can be used to operate auxiliary equipment, eliminating the need for the usual diesel or gas generator.
An adjustable air suspension system can provide between 7 and 19 inches of ground clearance to accommodate different terrain, or even allow the truck to operate in up to 3 feet of flood water.
The LAFD ordered the fire engine in 2020 from Austria-based Rosenbauer. The Rancho Cucamonga Fire District has also ordered a Rosenbauer, which is expected to arrive in 2023. Rosenbauer says the base cost of the truck is $900,000, and agencies are able to customize them to suit their needs. LAFD’s version cost approximately $1.2 million.
The new engine has been assigned to Fire Station 82 in Hollywood, which will serve as a testing site.
“The new electric [sic] fire engine is an excellent platform for our department to test the future of alternative energy, and allows our department to pursue a green path forward,” said LAFD Chief Kristin M. Crowley. “It will reduce noise, and bring it basically to nothing in regards to diesel emissions. We will actually create the space for our firefighters to be healthier around our fire engines.”