A fire chief in Menlo Park, California, which is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, just showed off an all-electric fire truck. It's reportedly the first of its kind and will become property of the Menlo Park fire department before the end of 2021.
Wait, don't electric vehicles cause fires? Why would a fire department want to invest in the problem that has started to plague it? Will it be too expensive? Isn't this a bad idea since the electric fire truck may run out of battery power, and charging infrastructure is few and far between, which could allow the fire to rage on ...
The above are only a few of the questions and concerns people have about electric fire trucks, and, really, EVs in general. However, they're based on myths, isolated incidents, and an overall lack of knowledge about the future technology.
Nonetheless, in September, a Tesla police car in Fremont, CA almost zeroed its battery during a chase. However, it was only because the person responsible for charging the car forgot to plug it in. Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman isn't concerned about that happening with the electric fire truck. He told CBS:
"Electric vehicles are not new -- it's only new to the fire service."
"I'm not concerned about that and I'll tell you why -- because we, in the design phase, we'll make sure that we don't have a single point of failure."
How is this possible? The chief explained that while the fire truck is fully electric, it uses a diesel generator as a failsafe, which could allow it to run for some eight hours if necessary. To top it off (no pun intended), simply adding more diesel to the generator could keep the truck running indefinitely.
Schapelhouman said the Austrian-made Rosenbauer electric fire engine will be used initially for rescues before moving on to fighting fires. The truck will cost some $1.2 million, which may sound expensive. However, that's on par with a "traditional tiller ladder truck." Moreover, if you account for the savings of using electricity rather than gas — in addition to the truck's minimal maintenance requirements, fluids, filters, etc. — it will actually save the fire department money.
Video Description via KPIX CBS SF Bay Area on YouTube:
World's First All-Electric Fire Engine Unveiled By Menlo Park Fire District
The Menlo Park Fire Protection District fire chief showed off the world's first all-electric fire engine Wednesday evening and announced plans to add one to the department's fleet by the end of 2021. Maria Medina reports. (12-11-2019)