Vancouver expects to become the first Canadian city with electric fire truck

Vancouver is expected to be the first city in Canada with an electric hybrid Rosenbauer fire truck that responds to calls in mid-2023

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Vancouver is poised to become the first city in Canada with an electric fire truck.

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The city has ordered a Rosenbauer RT pump truck as part of its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2030.

Deputy Fire Chief Tyler Moore said he expects to get Rosenbauer to respond to calls by 2023.

The battery-powered Rosenbauer, which is recharged when parked and connected to the fire station, comes with a diesel “range extender”, which allows the truck to drive longer than its normal range of about 100 km and 90 minutes.

The cost of a traditional diesel pump truck is $ 1.2 million compared to about $ 1.5 million for Rosenbauer, built by an Austrian-based company.

Moore said that when vehicles and larger pieces of equipment are electrified, the cost is often 50 percent more.

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“This is not that big of a leap for most of the electrified vehicles the city has purchased,” he said. “The total cost of ownership should and could be less than diesel – even when you pay that premium.”

Moore was impressed by several features of Rosenbauer in addition to its role in the fight against climate change.

If it is stopped at a red light and boxed in by vehicles, for example, the pump can turn all its wheels at an angle to move sideways out of traffic.

And if there is a disaster, such as an earthquake, the body of the truck can be raised so that it passes over road debris.

Moore said Berlin recently completed 440 runs with its Rosenbauer RT, using electric power 99.81 percent of the time. In four months, the truck used only eight liters of diesel.

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“It’s incredible,” Moore said. “It exceeds my expectation.”

Moore said Vancouver Fire Rescue Services will be the second jurisdiction in North America after Los Angeles to have an electric pump truck.

Brampton, Ont., Have also ordered one but will not get it until Vancouver, he said.

All fire trucks, he said, are custom-made for the department that ordered them.

Rosenbauer pumps about 5,600 gallons of water per minute, which Moore said was the North American standard. The standard City of Vancouver diesel fire trucks pump up to 8,500 gallons per minute, which is necessary because the city’s insurance rating for earthquakes is based on the fire trucks’ ability to pump water in an emergency.

He said Rosenbauer’s reduced capacity is not a problem because the city has so many other pump trucks with the larger capacity. As Rosenbauer is the first electric fire truck to hit the market, he expects pumping capacity to increase in future models.

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He said he was not worried about the life of the batteries. They are estimated to last for 20 years – 15 in frontline use and five after the trucks have been moved to reserves.

Moore said the truck is not only environmentally better than current diesel pump trucks, it is expected to lead to an improvement in firefighters’ safety.

Because the truck can lower closer to the ground, firefighters carrying heavy equipment are likely to suffer fewer knee and ankle injuries because they will not step or reach that far.

And like other electric vehicles, Rosenbauer is much quieter, so it reduces the noise load on firefighters.

The Rosenbauer is a European-looking fire truck that is smaller than the city’s standard diesel fire truck at 8.5 meters long and 2.4 meters wide, compared to up to 10.6 meters long and 30 to 35 feet long and 2.6 meters wide.

“It should be ready for inspection in a year from now and on the city streets by mid-2023,” Moore said.

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