The City of Vancouver is now home to Canada’s first electric fire engine.
The new vehicle, dubbed Engine 1 and based out of Firehall No. 1 in Strathcona, was unveiled Monday.
“Our city’s fire and rescue service is taking significant steps towards becoming more sustainable,” Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said.
“This truck is incredibly environmentally friendly, it’s going to save a ton on gas. I heard a similar truck has only used 20 gallons of gas in a year, which is mindboggling.”
The Rosenbauer RTX Pumper Truck cost the city $1.8 million, and is between $300,000 and $500,000 more expensive than a traditional diesel-powered engine, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Deputy Chief Tyler Moore said.
In addition to being electric, the vehicle underwent a full redesign aimed at producing an engine better suited to modern urban conditions.
At just 2.3 metres wide, the slimmer truck is able to access tighter spaces. It can also kneel or lift, and is equipped with four-wheel drive. It has a range of about 100 kilometres on a full charge, and an onboard diesel charger that can be used to recharge in the field if necessary.
Moore said the vehicle has a variety of features that make it safer for firefighters, starting with a much lower exposure to diesel fumes.
The truck’s lower profile means lower risk of injury mounting or descending from the engine.
It has a larger, more spacious cab and is much quieter, also allowing for better communications, he said.
“This is what this truck is about, is the health and wellbeing of our firefighters. To get equipment safely, to get on and off safely, driving safely, getting in and out of traffic safely,” Moore said.
Charging infrastructure has been installed at the Strathcona Fire Hall and is being added to the city’s fleet maintenance facility as well.
Moore said the fire department will assess the new vehicle’s performance in the field before deciding if it wants to add more of the electric engines to its fleet.