Fire truck trial aims to extinguish emissions

Queensland’s firefighters are about to go alternative with an electric vehicle and a biofuel truck to be rolled out for testing.

The next-generation prime movers will not immediately be used in critical environments with the vehicles first needing to be assessed for suitability.

Volvo delivered the two low-emission vehicles to the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service at its Wacol factory, in Brisbane’s south-west, including an FMX Electric prime mover and a 13-litre FMX prime mover capable of operating on a biofuel known as hydro-treated vegetable oil.

The trial will make Queensland’s emergency service the second in Australia to test an electric fire truck after the ACT adopted a battery-powered vehicle in August last year.

The electric fire truck will be deployed on in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast while the biofuel truck will be rolled out in Townsville.

Service commissioner Steve Smith said both heavy-duty trucks would be used for logistical work, such as moving equipment, as the service considered them for wider adoption.

“We’ve got a commitment as a department to reducing our emissions and we run a really large, complex fleet,” he said.

“There are about 500 heavy vehicles in the fire and rescue fleet and another 1030 in (the Rural Fire Service) so this pilot plays a pivotal role in shaping the approach we take towards the decarbonisation of our service.”.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick De Brenni said the low-emission heavy-duty vehicles were part of the state’s growing commitment to reducing transport emissions, which had already seen almost half the passenger vehicles in the government’s fleet swapped for electric models.

“It’s terrific to see ministers and commissioners and directors-general really taking up the opportunity to demonstrate to the community that electric and other types of low and zero-emission vehicles can function across our road network and they can do so reliably, they can do so affordably,” Mr De Brenni said.

“It is so important that government intentionally leans in to the decarbonisation challenge.”

Volvo Group Australia public affairs vice-president Lauren Pulitano told AAP recent changes to weight allowances on some Queensland roads would allow the company to roll out more electric trucks, and their use by emergency services would demonstrate their safety.

“Some people had perceptions of electric vehicles and I think this is a nice showcase that Queensland Fire and Emergency Services today have chosen this… as a good option for them and they see it’s a future solution,” she said.

Queensland’s announcement comes months after ACT Fire and Rescue added an electric truck to its fleet, and announced six more electric trucks would follow it.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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