The ACT government has inked a deal with firetruck maker Rosenbauer to trial a plug-in hybrid electric firetruck in Canberra.
The landmark deal marks another step in the capital territory’s push to reduce transport emissions as described by minister for climate change Shane Rattenbury at the Electric Vehicle Transition Conference in Sydney on Tuesday.
The deal, which will see the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) work with Rosenbauer to engineer the “Concept Fire Truck” (CFT) for Australian conditions, according to ACT emergency services minister Mick Gentleman.
“The development of the plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) fire truck is an important first step towards transitioning to a zero emissions emergency vehicle fleet,” Gentleman said in a statement.
Just one of the PHEV firetrucks, which is capable of carrying current ACT fire services equipment, uses a diesel “range extender” but would see a reduction of diesel fuel used to the order of 185,000 litres a year, and 400 litres less engine oil a year, Gentleman says.
It would also offer better comfort for the fire and emergency services workers.
“Firefighter safety and comfort will be at the forefront of the design with better use of space and greater crew protection. The vehicle will be ergonomically designed and include a walk in, walk out entry to support firefighters’ knees and backs as they move in and out of the vehicle,” he says.
The Electric Vehicle Council on Wednesday congratulated the ACT Government for what it calls a “landmark” decision to trial the PHEV firetruck.
“The ACT’s step towards Australia’s first plug-in hybrid electric fire truck demonstrates Canberra’s commitment to reducing carbon emission and preserving the city’s pristine environment,” said EVC CEO Behyad Jafari in a note by email.
“The ACT government is a leader when it comes to the adoption of electric vehicles. Developing a plug-in hybrid fire truck is a first in Australia and will show the wide application of electric vehicles beyond the personal car.
“Rosenbauer is one of the world’s largest firefighting technology companies. The concept fire truck technology has a fully electric drive with a diesel range extender and can carry all equipment needed.
“This partnership will see the ACT deliver the first plug-in hybrid electric fire truck fleet in the Asia-Pacific in the next three years. In the long term the ACT will benefit from reduced fuel consumption, cleaner air and secure its title as a leader in climate action.
“This is another important step towards ACT’s zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. The mass move toward electric vehicles is coming, for light and heavy transport alike.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.