The Los Angeles Fire Department has taken delivery of an electric Rosenbauer RTX fire truck, making it the first fully operational electric fire truck to be adopted in the US.
The fire-stopping EV costs around $1.2 million (£996,700) per unit and uses two electric motors to produce 360 kW (roughly 490bhp) of peak performance and 260 kW (around 250bhp) in everyday driving. To power the immense machine, the RTX uses a gigantic 132kWh battery pack, which also supplies power to the truck’s four wheels and onboard equipment. For perspective, the Rosenbauer RTX’s battery is five-and-half times the size of the Fiat 500e city car’s 24kWh unit.
Despite the enormous battery pack, the truck has also been installed with a not-so-emissions-free 3.0-litre 300bhp BMW-sourced six-cylinder diesel engine. Austrian manufacturer Rosenbauer claims that “purely electric and therefore emission-free, short-range operations are not a problem” for their truck, but the traditional diesel power unit will will be used as a backup generator on long-distance journeys or more demanding missions to recharge the battery or power the water pump and other onboard systems. After all, the last thing you want to hear is that the fire truck has run out of battery on the way to your burning building.
During the new truck’s unveiling, LAFD Fire Chief Kristin Crowley claimed the new battery-powered truck would provide benefits such as “reduced noise” and lower overall diesel emissions, which will create a healthier working environment for the department’s firefighters. The Californian firefighting department has another RTX on the way for next year, while the city of Rancho Cucamonga has also placed an order with Rosenbauer for their own battery-powered fire truck. Sadiq Khan, are you tempted?