The Los Angeles Fire Department is fighting more than just fires. Thanks to its new electric fire engine, the LAFD is fighting air pollution, gas prices, and a slew of other dirty energy–related issues.
City of Los Angeles Fire Chief Kristin Crowley unveiled the new Rosenbauer RTX fire engine last May, and it’s already getting a lot of love from local residents. A Reddit user recently spotted the vehicle parked in L.A. and posted a picture on the forum r/electricvehicles. The post has already garnered thousands of upvotes and hundreds of comments.
One Redditor called electric fire trucks “a great fleet EV use case,” noting the vehicle’s “emphasis on low maintenance and high reliability.”
Another user commented, “That thing is probably SICK!!” while others remarked on the engine’s uncanny resemblance to the “Transformers” character Optimus Prime.
The LAFD’s official Reddit account also commented on the post to clarify that the vehicle is “properly described as a Fire Engine rather than a Fire Truck” and link some helpful resources. The post’s author, firefighter and specialist public service officer Brian Humphrey, also directed interested users to the LAFD’s official subreddit, r/LAFD.
After reaching an agreement with Austrian manufacturer Rosenbauer in 2020, Los Angeles became the first city in North America to use an electric fire engine. Rosenbauer calls its RTX model “the world’s first electric fire truck” and its European “brother” model, the RT, is already used in Germany by the Berlin Fire Department.
The LAFD’s new addition responded to more than 100 calls in its first week, and reviews have been positive. The vehicle has been praised for its quiet engine, its innovative cab design, and its pedestrian-friendly features, like its turning radius.
Plus, it cuts down on the noxious fumes from gas-powered trucks, which can damage firefighters’ health. Given that the Berlin Fire Department just ordered four additional RT models in December 2022, there’s a chance an electric fire engine could be coming soon to a fire department near you.
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