The Los Angeles Fire Department has just locked in order for a new fire engine. Think that isn't newsworthy? Maybe not at first glance, but the crew's new truck will be actually the first battery-powered fire engine in the United States. It’s faster, nimbler, and much more advanced than anything L.A. has seen before—at least from its fire department—and it cost a cool $1.2 million.
The next time you have a fire emergency, you may not hear the trucks coming. Well, sirens are pretty hard to ignore, but you may not hear the truck itself. Los Angeles was one of the first fire departments in the nation to leave behind horses for motorized trucks a century ago, and when this vehicle—which also has a diesel "generator" for backup—hits the streets next year, it will make the LAFD a trailblazer once again.
Innovation, at least when it comes to fire trucks, isn’t cheap. The Rosenbauer Concept Fire Truck—cleverly shortened to just CFT—will cost the city about as much as a McLaren Senna hypercar. Before we get up in arms about the financials, it’s important to note that the seven-figure price tag aligns pretty closely with the cost of a new truck that runs purely on fossil fuel.
The city also mentioned that it will be installing a rapid charger at the truck’s home station, which will most likely be the Hollywood Fire Station 82, to keep the engine running.
The truck is powered by two batteries with 100 kilowatt-hours of capacity, which should keep things running for up to two hours before the diesel engine is needed. Beyond the obvious benefit of preserving the environment, the hybrid trucks are narrower than previous models, are said to handle better, and offer an adjustable ride height to handle various urban obstacles. The CFT has four-wheel drive, haptic feedback in the driver’s seat to alert of potential problems, and the interior can be equipped with a wide variety of communications technologies.
Rosenbauer’s CFT should reach the LAFD sometime later this year and will be put through its paces during on-the-job testing in 2021. Even so, the company says that its CFT is a “bearer of technology,” which basically means it’s just a working prototype to prove various features and functions. Apparently, Rosenbauer is fielding calls from fire departments every day, so it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing actual rescue vehicles of the future on our streets.
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