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Los Angeles First in North America for Electric Fire Trucks

Los Angeles and Rancho Cucamonga will get the first electric fire trucks in North America, with L.A. intending to put one in Hollywood this year, and Rancho aiming to base one in a new fire station in late 2023.

(TNS) — Los Angeles and Rancho Cucamonga will get the first electric fire trucks in all of North America, with L.A. intending to put its in Hollywood this year, and Rancho aiming to base its in a new fire station set to open in late 2023.

"This will be the future of firefighting," said Assistant Chief Wade White with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

They will be produced by Austrian manufacturer Rosenbauer and be the first trucks to incorporate an all-electric drivetrain.

Still, each will come with a small diesel engine, just in case.

Currently there are only three such fire trucks — the model is call Revolutionary Technology — in the world. One is in Berlin, another is in Amsterdam and Dubai has the third.

The base cost for a Rosenbauer RT is $900,000. With the added bells and whistles the two Southern California fire agencies want, their electric fire trucks will each cost just under $1.3 million.

The fire truck's design will catch viewers' eyes.

From the front, the truck retains the traditional look. But from the side one might mistake it for a city bus. Los Angeles' will feature the agency's traditional red coat of paint, while Rancho Cucamonga's will be white like the rest of the city's fleet.

While standard trucks would typically harness their gear and equipment on exposed racks on the sides of the truck, the RT's equipment is inside compartments that can close when driving, giving the truck a larger appearance.

A few members of the Rancho Cucamonga Fire District traveled to Berlin to test-drive the truck on much narrower streets compared to those in the United States. Still, the truck handles surprisingly well in tight situations, Rancho Cucamonga Fire Chief Mike McCliman said.

In December 2020, Rosenbauer brought a RT truck to Dodger Stadium for the Los Angeles Fire Department to check out.

"We got to drive it and kick the tires around," White said. " The Hollywood Hills are tight, and with the reduced turning radius (the truck) will be perfect for navigating the area."

Whether the RT will have any downsides compared to a standard truck remains to be seen, McCliman said. How will the truck respond to different terrains, in wildlands, in urban and metropolitans areas?

Each RT will be tailored for the departments. That allows for near-identical replication of equipment and hose placement.

"Our team won't have to adapt to a new setup," McCliman said.

The two built-in batteries can recharge quickly. The built-in range extender, the small diesel engine that powers a large generator, allows the truck to extend its electrical driving range and pumping operations. The trucks will have 33-gallon diesel tanks.

In Berlin, McCliman said, the truck pumped on electric power for more than an hour, drawing water from canals without the range extender kicking in.

"We'd be electric virtually all the time (in Rancho Cucamonga)," McCliman said.

When the truck comes to a standstill, the engine is automatically deactivated, while the lighting and equipment remain powered by the batteries. This reduces the noise level, especially beneficial at the scene of an emergency where crews require focus.

© 2022 the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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