Mike Wilbur


Beginning next year, the Los Angeles Fire Department will become the first in North America to operate an electric apparatus.

The department signed a deal to purchase the new electric fire engine from Austrian-based manufacturer Rosenbauer, the fire service announced Monday. Based on the company’s Concept Fire Truck model, the apparatus will be customized to meet the department’s specific needs, as well as the National Fire Protection Association safety standards, and will likely be assigned to Fire Station 82 in Hollywood by early 2021.

“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,” Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said in a statement. “We are looking forward to evaluating it in a real-world environment once it hits the streets of Hollywood next year.”


Rosenbauer gave a demonstration of its Concept Fire Truck for the department this past fall in Los Angeles. The new apparatus’ two batteries will have a capacity of 100-kilowatt hours, allowing fully electric operation for around two hours, with an on-board diesel generator providing additional running time. The station where the vehicle will be housed also will be outfitted with rapid-charging technology so it will always be ready to respond to calls.

“The future fire truck is fundamentally different from the vehicles which are in service at the fire stations today,” Dieter Siegel, Rosenbauer’s CEO, said in a statement. “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. I am particularly delighted to receive the order from the Los Angeles Fire Department, which really is a fantastic vote of confidence.”

In December, Rosenbauer demonstrated its electric apparatus for the Menlo Park Fire District in northern California. But in a narrow 3-2 vote, the district’s board decided not to hold one of its 10 spots open for the new vehicle, which would have been used for rescue purposes.

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