Los Angeles FD purchases an electric engine

The plug-in hybrid is expected to be delivered in May, 2022

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Los Angeles Fire Department's new electric fire engine
Los Angeles Fire Department’s new electric engine is expected to be delivered in May, 2022. LAFD photo.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is expecting to receive one of the very few electric engines that exist in the world. It was ordered from Rosenbauer America in February, 2020 and LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said in a tweet today it is scheduled to be delivered in May. It is about a year behind schedule, but that may be because it is a pre-series vehicle based on Rosenbauer’s Concept Fire Truck. It will be the first electric engine in the United States. Three others are in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Dubai. Another Southern California city, Rancho Cucamonga, has also ordered one, with a delivery date in late 2023.

The truck will have will have two batteries with a charge capacity of 100 kilowatt hours. For comparison, a Tesla Model 3 small sedan can be ordered with batteries ranging from 54 to 82 kWh, producing a range of 220 to 353 miles.

The batteries on the truck will enable fully electric operation for roughly two hours and an on-board diesel generator can be activated for extended operations. It will have a 33-gallon diesel tank to serve the generator. If this was a car it would be called a plug-in hybrid.

The LAFD will equip the station that houses the electric engine with rapid-charging technology to ensure the apparatus is always ready to respond to calls.

The engine has a tight turning radius and a relatively short wheel base, which Chief Terrazas said will be an advantage where it will be assigned, Station 82 in Hollywood, an area with narrow roads.

The LAFD released this video shortly after the truck was ordered in February, 2020.

“I am excited that we are the first Department in North America to order this cutting-edge fire engine,” said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas in 2020. “The electric fire engine is an innovative tool that will help reduce noise and harmful diesel emissions while providing a flexible tool for firefighting and rescue operations from a technologically advanced platform. We are looking forward to evaluating it in a real-world environment once it hits the streets of Hollywood next year.”

“The future fire truck is fundamentally different from the vehicles which are in service at the fire stations today,” said Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International. “It is multi-functional, fully connected and its flexible interior can be used as a fully featured command center. Its floor can be lowered facilitating minimum boarding and working levels. Electric engines reduce noise and pollution.”

Rosenbauer is the world’s leading manufacturer of firefighting vehicles and equipment. In addition to plants overseas, they have manufacturing facilities in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

11 thoughts on “Los Angeles FD purchases an electric engine”

  1. And why red.?
    Have ya noticed that most newer units are painted white or HOT yellow.?
    I do not remember the medical term but in low light (night), the human eye sees red as black.
    *

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    1. I agree. Our Fire Department had bright yellow/lime green apparatus, including a helicopter. They have all been changed to red. Our rigs always stood out, in traffic or at multi agency incidents. From when I started with the Dep’t in 1980, I admired the fact that they were that color. I have to admit that the helicopter does show up better during wildland “air show.” It all started when a used apparatus that was purchased and was red, the price of repainting it dictated that the color would remain the same. So new rigs were purchased with the red color and eventually, through attrition, all of out rigs are red. The old timers (retired) miss it and the newer force thinks that it is great that now they have equipment that are traditional FD Red. Ironic, isn’t it?

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  2. The geriatric naysayers here could solve
    all the problems of the future if only we just listened to them!

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    1. Hi Matt
      I hardly consider myself to be geriatric even though I am in the verge of buying stock in the Depends Corporation. What a few gray hairs had done is to make me ask questions before I jump on the bandwagon to buy every new piece of equipment that comes down the pike. This rig may be absolutely fantastic, but I would like to see a few more in service and see how well they stand up to the call volume of the LAFD before shelling out the city’s hard earned cash. If this rig turns out to be a lemon there is going to be a whole lot of money going down the toilet. It’s not fair to the guys staffing the equipment nor the public who are shelling out the money to not have a dependable, long lasting rig that will do the job in a safe, and cost efficient manner. In my career I was stuck with a rig that was advertised as the best thing since sliced bread. It turned out to be a rolling piece of junk that the department was stuck with . I assure you that this was not a “fun” experience .

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      1. I’m all in favor of healthy skepticism. This is certainly an experiment, but it is 1 out of approximately 140 engines. 1.3 million isn’t chump change, but compare to 240 million in OT pay. Cost efficient?

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  3. Could be great, could be awful, chances are it will be somewhere in between. Either way someone has to pioneer new tools and it may just turn out that the capabilities of electric engines greatly outweigh the weaknesses on incidents, especially ones that can recharge themselves (see sentence about diesel generator).

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  4. What type of engine is this? A normal urban fire engine (pumper) carries at least 500 gallons, has several water ports, both intake and discharge, a prominent pump control panel, ladders, a deluge gun (fire monitor,) and LOTS of hose that can be easily deployed by hand at the scene, or while rolling, if far from a hydrant.

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  5. I spent 32 years at LAFD. I assure you this rig is kinda like a “woke” political purpose.
    The call loads are tremendous in Los Angeles and rigs get beat down. This will be a giant “T#*%”

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  6. Don’t park it an apparatus bay. Park outside no closer than 50 feet from improvements or vegetation. Make that 100 feet upwind.

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  7. Lots of questions!!!!
    How much does this thing weigh? How big is the booster tank? What is the power drain with all the lights, siren etc., running. How big is the midship pump, does it have an auxiliary pump for pump-and-roll? I have to say that off the top of my head that this thing could very well be a red colored lemon. Who am I to question progress though.

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