Pair of new state-of-the-art electric fire trucks could cost Brampton $5.4M

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Published September 11, 2023 at 2:51 pm

Mississauga gets first electric fire truck
A Rosenbauer RTX electric fire truck similar to one purchased by the City of Brampton. (Photo: Twitter/ Rosenbauer Group)

Brampton firefighters could be getting some high-tech upgrades as the city is looking to replace aging engines and add to its fleet of electric vehicles.

Brampton made history in 2021 when city council approved the purchase of a Rosenbauer RT electric fire truck, becoming the first municipality in the province to adopt an electric-powered pumper truck.

The electric vehicle is loaded with cutting-edge and environmentally friendly features that benefit not just the environment but firefighters as well, and a report going to city council this week shows Brampton Fire and Emergency Services (BFES) could add two more Rosenbauer vehicles to its fleet.

Staff are asking council to greenlight an additional $1.3 million in funding to purchase two Rosenbauer electric fire trucks, adding to the $4.1 million in funds already earmarked for the purchase. The report states that the higher price tag comes from “incremental increase costs in foreign exchange rates” as well as a “price increase.”

If the budget amendment is approved then staff will begin with procurement of the vehicles, with one of the new pumper trucks replacing a vehicle at Station 201 that’s nearing the end of its lifespan while the other would add to the fleet at Station 215.

And while a total budget of $5.4 million might induce some sticker shock, the city says switching to electric fire trucks will lead to cost savings over time from reduced fuel usage and maintenance compared to a traditional diesel-powered apparatus.

Electric trucks allow fire crews to respond to emergencies with low noise and exhaust emissions, not only while travelling but also on the scene of a fire or emergency. They also have the ability to raise or lower ride heights similar to a passenger bus, which can be used during a flood with no chance of water entering the engine.

The trucks have all-wheel steering so they can maneuver in tight locations and narrower roads, like in newer subdivisions, and incorporate the latest technologies to improve the health and safety and reducing risks of firefighter injury.

The Rosenbauer RT also features a built-in “range extender,” which is an onboard diesel generator that can charge the batteries up to 80 per cent in just 15 minutes in the case of extensive fire or emergency service operations. As for charging the vehicle batteries, the new Brampton Fire Stations 201 and 215 were future-proofed to have the required infrastructure to charge the electric trucks incorporated into the construction.

The report says the wait time for a Rosenbauer RT is approximately two years, but the manufacturer currently has a demo unit in Minnesota which is currently available now for purchase.

The city says the Rosenbauer RT is the only fully electric fire truck on the market that is able to meet current firefighting standards, and the purchase of two more engines would make Brampton the first fire service in Ontario with a fleet of three electric powered front-line emergency response vehicles.

The budget amendment request will go to city council on Wednesday.

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