Menlo Park fire district to showcase all-electric engine at open house | News | Almanac Online |

News

Menlo Park fire district to showcase all-electric engine at open house

Locals invited to have a look at engine prototype this afternoon

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District is looking into its future by checking out a new, all-electric fire engine that promises to cure a lot of ills that plague conventional diesel-powered fire trucks.

The vehicle, known as a Rosenbauer Concept Fire Truck, reduces exposure to diesel fumes, which are a known carcinogen; saves money by eliminating diesel fuel; virtually eliminates carbon emissions that cause climate change; and has fewer moving parts than conventional engines, resulting in lower maintenance costs, according to Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman.

An actual purchase of an all-electric truck might be a couple of years away, though, he acknowledged. "This is a concept truck; it's not in production at this time," he said.

The fire is district is holding an open house featuring a Rosenbauer prototype engine on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Fire Station 6, 700 Oak Grove Ave. in Menlo Park.

Range limits that make electric cars impractical for some drivers aren't a major deterrent to using electric firetrucks in urban fire districts such as Menlo Park because more than 90% of all responses by firefighters, such as medical incidents, last only a short time, Schapelhouman added.

As a backup, the all-electric engine has an extra battery system and a small booster motor for local fire calls and other incidents involving longer response times, he said.

The major drawback of the all-electric truck is that it would have limited use in the case of providing aid in out-of-town emergencies, such as wildfires, since the batteries need to be recharged at the fire station, according to Schapelhouman.

"We'd be using (one) locally for short-distance responses," he said.

Eliminating diesel fumes has a clear benefit to firefighters, since the fumes are a known carcinogen, Schapelhouman said, adding, "We're trying to be a lot more careful about (diesel) exposures and what we could do to improve working conditions in acquiring new equipment."

The district is in its third and final year of replacing its entire fleet of eight diesel fire engines, which are used in "front-line" service for about 10 years, he said.

The agency keeps eight engines in front-line service at a time and four or five in reserve for use in emergencies, he said.

Rosenbauer is headquartered in Austria and has factories in South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska, according to the company's website.

---

Sign up for Almanac Express to get news updates. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or show your support for local journalism by subscribing.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Mark L
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 13, 2019 at 8:08 am

No mention of the biggest drawback is that it costs $6 million! See the article in Electrek.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 13, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"No mention of the biggest drawback is that it costs $6 million!"

Wrong - The Rosenbauer Concept Fire Truck is being offered to MPFPD for $1.2 million.

Its lifetime Total Operating Cost TOC will be about 40% less than that of a comparable diesel powered vehicle.


11 people like this
Posted by Sue Kayton
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Under normal situations, this truck sounds great. But in the aftermath of The Big One, when the earthquake has knocked out power lines, power plants and power distribution facilities, a diesel-powered truck can keep running for months, using diesel that is stored at the fire stations. An all-electric truck will only work for one or two days after The Big One, since there is currently no practical way to store enough electricity to run a power-hungry fire truck for a longer period of time.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 14, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"a diesel-powered truck can keep running for months, using diesel that is stored at the fire stations"

And an electric truck can be recharged for months using a diesel powered generator using diesel fuel that is stored at the fire stations. Next.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Pluto's appears to close after more than two decades in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 17 comments | 7,837 views

Edible Education – Free Course - UC Berkeley Online
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,901 views

Local Pols Debate Climate
By Sherry Listgarten | 1 comment | 1,670 views

Hallelujah! "Real Facts" Still Matter To The Menlo Park City Council
By Dana Hendrickson | 0 comments | 1,285 views

Letting Christmas Linger
By Cheryl Bac | 5 comments | 956 views