The Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) has deployed what is believed to be the first electric fire truck in North America. Rosenbauer, the Austria-based fire engine manufacturer, has also claimed to have built “the world’s first fully electric drive fire truck,” the Rosenbauer RTX.
“This is going to allow us to find new ways to provide service,” said Chief Richard Fields with the LAFD. In its first week, Engine 82, made by Rosenbauer, has gone on over 100 calls. The truck is still red but everything else is green.
Although it was lauded as “America’s first electric fire truck” — though it’s equipped with a BMW-sourced diesel engine to top up the batteries if they run low. That makes this a hybrid fire truck, not a pure EV, but that’s still a welcome development in the world of firefighting here in the States.
“I would say the biggest advantage is [less] injury and [more] safety for the firefighter,” said Doug Feldman, Western Regional Manager for Rosenbauer, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electric and non-electric trucks.
There are no diesel fumes or noisy engines. It has a sound reminiscent of an electric car. It’s quiet, smooth, and comfortable, so you can think clearly inside.
The roomy interior features high tech displays and digital mirrors for better views around the entire truck. There are LED lighting and level indicators for water and foam. The electric drivetrain handles steep hills with ease, all wheel steering means a smaller turn radius and a crab mode lets the truck easily go around things.
Rosenbauer says that its electric truck is equipped with a 360 kW electric powertrain and a 132 kWh battery pack, which is good for two hours of operation. It is equipped with all the equipment you’d expect in a fire truck, including an up to 1,000? 5? hose and another reaching 1,000? 2.5?.
The Rosenbauer RTX is also equipped with an adjustable air suspension that can provide between 7? and 19? of ground clearance. It holds between 500 and 750 gallons in its water tank depending on its configuration, and its pump has a capacity of 750 to 1,500 GPM.
The truck can travel 62 miles on pure electric and over 300 if the gas-powered range extender kicks in, although Rosenbauer said that in the first 100 calls the range extender only ran for about a minute in 95 hours of operation.