Could LA’s electric fire truck spark a clean energy future?

Los Angeles firefighters will soon extinguish the flames in a new sustainable ride. The city is set to launch the nation’s first-ever electric fire truck. And it looks like something all right Transformers. The new, planet-friendly firefighting truck is a shining example of Los Angeles’ larger goal of a clean energy future. But is Los Angeles’ transition to zero-emission transportation fast enough?

An Electric Fire Truck Takes LA

The days of gasoline-powered fire trucks in Los Angeles may be numbered. The city’s new electric fire truck is set to hit the streets of the City of Angels in May.

“Take a look at our new electric motor #LAFD,” tweeted LA Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas, who is due to retire on March 26. “It will be the 1st of the Nation!”

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) ordered the plug-in hybrid truck from Austrian fire truck manufacturer Rosenbauer in February 2020. It will be assigned to Fire Station 82 in Hollywood, which Terrazas says would be beneficial due to bushfire threats to the area. and very congested and narrow roads. “The Rosenbauer has a very tight turning radius,” he said. “It accelerates incredibly – much faster than our current device.”

The truck is the fourth of its kind, following similar electric fire trucks in Berlin, Amsterdam and Dubai. Rancho Cucamonga, a town in southern California, has also ordered a Rosenbauer, which is expected to be delivered in late 2023.

“The electric fire truck 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” , said Terrazas. “We look forward to evaluating him in a live environment once he hits the streets of Hollywood.”

The plug-in hybrid truck from Austrian fire truck manufacturer Rosenbauer will be assigned to Fire Station 82 in Hollywood. | Rosenbauer

Is LA’s clean energy future achievable?

California’s transportation sector accounts for more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

In September 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state would phase out gas-guzzling cars in favor of zero-emission vehicles to help fight the climate crisis. By 2035, all new passenger cars and trucks sold in California must be emission-free. “This is the most impactful action our state can take to address climate change,” Newsom said at the time. (The announcement is in line with a similar executive order from President Joe Biden, which states that half of all new car sales must be zero emissions by 2030).

Famous for its bumper-to-bumper traffic and heavy smog, LA is on a mission to go all-electric. That’s good news, considering it has the worst air quality of any city in the country. In 2019, Mayor Eric Garcetti launched Los Angeles’ Green New Deal, which builds on the city’s 2015 sustainability plan.

The plan set out targets to make LA carbon neutral by 2050, including making all major renovations and new city-owned buildings fully electric, phasing out plastic straws and single-use containers by 2028 , send zero waste to landfills by 2050, and recycle 100% of the city’s wastewater by 2035. That’s ambitious to say the least.

The Green New Deal also cemented the city’s position as a “national leader” in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. City government vehicles will be fully electric by 2028. It has pledged to only purchase zero-emission buses after 2025. In October 2021, the city launched its first zero-emission metro bus line, the Metro G (Orange) line, which took five years and $80 million to complete. The city aims to launch 28,000 additional electric charging stations by 2030.

LAFD Electric Fire Truck
The electric fire truck is a step forward in the city’s electrification goal.​​ | LAFD

A (conclusive) roadmap towards electrification

Over the years, the City of Los Angeles has set many (many) goals to achieve zero emissions, leading two local council members to call for a more unified roadmap to electrification.

In August 2021, LA City Council members Paul Krekorian and Mitch O’Farrell raised concerns that the city’s electric transportation targets were fragmented and ineffective in the overall fight against the climate crisis. . They put forward a motion for a master plan to turn the city into 100% renewable energy by 2035 (the city had previously set a 2045 deadline) and achieve zero emissions.

“Achieving our climate goals requires urgent action and a large-scale approach,” O’Farrell said. “We have a golden opportunity to work with the Biden administration on our shared goals for a sustainable and clean energy future. The sooner we transition to all-electric vehicles, the sooner we will clear the air in Los Angeles. For this reason, encouraging the use of electric vehicles in Los Angeles is arguably our top environmental priority.

In a transition to clean energy, the city will undoubtedly need a larger power grid. (And he will have to ensure that the charging points are sustainably supplied.) He must also take into account the fact that electric vehicles are still not accessible to everyone. A 2021 report from the International Council on Clean Transportation states that “the transition to zero-emission vehicles can be facilitated by supporting local infrastructure, incentives and policies to overcome barriers to electric vehicles to ensure equitable access to zero-emission mobility to all Angelenos”.

But the electric fire truck is a step forward in the city’s electrification goal. described and championed by Mayor Eric Garcetti,” said LAFD Director of Government Affairs and Public Information Cheryl Getuiza.

About the Author

Audrey writes about sustainability, food and entertainment. She holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and political science.

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