New Electric Fire Truck

The Menlo Park Fire Department in California has unveiled a new fire engine that they would like to purchase. The electric fire truck is a concept vehicle that Austrian company Rosenbauer has been working on for the past five years, looks like it could double as a swat vehicle.

Rosenbauer knows a thing or two about building a fire truck, they have more than 150 years of experience and are the world’s leading manufacturer of systems for firefighting and disaster protection.

The Rosenbauer Concept Fire Truck (CFT) truck is equipped with a redundant battery system, a small boost motor, and a diesel generator. The generator is necessary in case the truck is deployed to a large fire, it could then easily be refilled to keep the vehicle operational.

Menlo Park Fire Chief Harry Schapelhouman said most fire engines travel short distances to fight their fires, so electric engines make perfect sense. Since the truck was revealed, many of the department’s crew have been eager to use the new machine. Schapelhouman explains:

We’re trying to build tools, not toys. Working with the latest in tech is always great because it allows our firefighters to see what tools are available. I’ve gotten so many coming up to me already saying ‘when can we get this?

The concept truck cost Rosenbauer around $5 million to create, but a production model will cost Menlo Park $1.2 million, which is about the same price as a traditional diesel fire truck. However, the electric vehicle will end up saving money, due to eliminating the need for fuel, filters, and fluids.

To purchase the truck the department will need to throw down a $200,000 deposit, which would be fully refundable.

CFT electric fire truck from Rosenbauer.
Credit: Rosenbauer

The CFT’s two electric motors can power it for up to 30 minutes of driving, plus water pumping operation. The truck comes equipped with an adjustable stance that stabilizes it while driving, along with a tight turning radius and narrower body than conventional trucks. The body can also be lowered to 6″ while driving and raised to 19″ while on the scene.

The CFT also has a modular interior that can be customized for each department enabling different size tanks and other equipment. The truck comes equipped with a remote-controlled “crawler” with the ability to carry over 1,600 pounds of equipment. Another improved safety feature is a haptic feedback system and rear-view cameras.

As for the color, the CFT model was painted lime green as Rosenbauer is a European based company and those are the popular emergency vehicle colors over there. The company did stress however that the trucks could easily be painted in the standard “fire engine red” that we’re used to in the U.S.

Unfortunately, for now, the Menlo Park Fire Department will have to wait on the truck. The CFT recently received a “no” vote for purchase. Officials are citing the price of the vehicle is just too high. Others, however, argued that a standard new fire truck costs upwards of $900,000 and that’s before it being fully equipped.

Perhaps, Rosenbauer will find other suitable buyers as the electric fire truck is set for a tour of the U.S. and Canada while the company has it in North America.

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