Queensland Fire and Emergency Services receives first electric fire truck

An Australian-made battery-electric fire truck has been added to the Sunshine Coast Fire and Rescue fleet with a biofuel truck running on vegetable-oil beginning trials in Townsville.

The first electric fire truck has been delivered to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) for deployment at Caloundra and the Sunshine Coast.

The electric heavy-duty fire truck – a Volvo 6×4 FMX Heavy Duty Electric Prime Mover (FMX Electric) – was manufactured at the Volvo Trucks Australia's factory at Wacol in the south west of Brisbane.

While detailed technical info has not been disclosed, Queensland's first battery-electric fire truck has three electric motors producing up to 490kW, with a 540kWh battery pack made up of six individual batteries giving it a driving range of 300km.

Charging time is two-and-a-half hours with 250kW Direct Current (DC) charging, according to Volvo Trucks Australia data, with the six-axle truck offering a Gross Combination Weight (GCW) – the amount it can carry or pull – of up to 50 tonnes.

It will be joined by a biofuel fire truck – powered by Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) – undergoing trails in Townsville, as the service looks to reduce both operating costs and reduce emissions.

"Both the electric and HVO-powered trucks will be trialled in a non-critical tier of response and operations, allowing us the ability to assess the benefits of the vehicles before adopting them further into the fleet," QFES Commissioner Steve Smith said in a statement.

"There are about 500 heavy vehicles in the Fire and Rescue fleet and another 1030 in RFS [Rural Fire Service], so this pilot plays a pivotal role in shaping the approach we take towards the decarbonisation of our service."

Volvo Trucks Australia is set to play an important role in the process, with its Wacol factory gearing up for electric vehicle production from 2027 at the facility, where more than 700 people are employed to produce around 3000 trucks each year.

Queensland's new battery-electric fire truck is the second critical services electric vehicle in Australia after the ACT Emergency Services Agency added an electric Breathing Apparatus Truck, also a Volvo, in 2023.

The ACT Emergency Service Agency also introduced a plug-in hybrid fire truck – which combined a diesel engine and electric powertrain – 12 months ago.

While it may be its first fire truck, the QFES began trialling a Tesla Model 3 electric car as a 'first responder' vehicle in April last year.

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