Gilbert rolls out Arizona's first electric fire truck

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Thursday, November 9, 2023 - 1:17pm

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Front of a fire truck
The electric fire truck has zero tailpipe emissions, creating a cleaner, safer work environment for Gilbert Fire Department personnel, according to the department.

The Gilbert Fire & Rescue Department has added the state’s first electric fire truck to its fleet.

SRP granted the department a $20,000 rebate for the vehicle’s fast-charging system, which is mounted on the station’s ceiling to keep the surrounding floor space clear of charging cables. The power utility also kicked in $10,000 toward the truck itself.

Built by Pierce Manufacturing, Inc., the Volterra Pumper operates out of the busiest of Gilbert’s 11 firehouses, Station No. 2, located on Guadalupe Road just west of Higley Road.

The truck accelerates faster and more smoothly than its internal combustion contemporaries.

What’s more, without a diesel engine running beneath the cab, the truck stays cooler inside. It can also be air-conditioned in advance of deployment.

Fire truck outside station
Gilbert added a new electric fire truck to its fleet.

Beyond being eco-friendly, the pumper’s zero tailpipe emissions offer more immediate health benefits to firefighters.

“The generational change that this truck brings is, it eliminates diesel exhaust, which is known to cause cancer for our firefighters, which is a problem in our industry,” said Gilbert Fire Chief Rob Duggan.

Moreover, the truck’s operations are far quieter – another important health and safety consideration.

“It's quiet, and that helps protect our hearing for our engineers that run the pump,” said Duggan. “Typically, it’s loud; they have to wear hearing protection. So this protects their hearing. But, additionally, it improves communications. That enables them to hear critical radio traffic during an incident.”

The pumper can fully charge in two hours, has a range of 95 miles and can pump out its full load of water using only 2% of its charge.

It also equips a backup diesel engine in case of extended operations.

Battery charger in the fire station
SRP worked with Gilbert to install a fast-charging system that is suspended from the firehouse ceiling and can fully charge the truck in two hours for a range of 95 miles.

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