Editor’s Product: Pierce Volterra is leading the electric revolution

February 13, 2024

The Pierce Volterra electric fire truck is revolutionising firefighting with zero emissions and reduced noise

Pierce Manufacturing’s Pierce Volterra is at the pinnacle of electric vehicle innovation in fire service technology. This new lineup of electric fire trucks aims to meet the rigorous demands of modern firefighting, focusing on zero emissions, reduced noise, and uncompromised performance and safety. This development represents a significant step in integrating environmentally friendly solutions into critical emergency services.

The Pierce Volterra platform signifies a transformative approach in firefighting operations. By integrating an Oshkosh patented parallel-electric drive train, which includes an electro-mechanical infinitely variable transmission (EMIVT) and integrated onboard batteries, these electric fire trucks achieve a balance between eco-friendliness and operational effectiveness. Additionally, the inclusion of an internal combustion engine (ICE) ensures continuous power to the pumping system or drive system, vital for extended emergency operations.

Enhanced operational capabilities and safety

Pierce’s electric fire trucks feature standardised pumping configurations, capable of delivering up to 2000 gallons per minute (GPM). The unique driveline provides zero emissions during quick attack responses and transitions seamlessly to internal combustion power for prolonged pumping operations. The trucks maintain standard controls and pump panel layout for operation in either mode. This dual power source solution ensures redundancy and continuous operational confidence.

Innovative charging infrastructure for fire stations

A notable aspect of the Pierce Volterra electric vehicles is their tailored fire station-based charging infrastructure. Designed for easy installation in any station, these charging solutions offer fast charging capabilities, fully recharging the trucks in less than 90 minutes. The strategic placement of batteries between the cab and pump house not only enhances vehicle safety but also does not limit body configuration or compartment space, ensuring operational efficiency.

Customisation for city-specific needs

Different cities have adapted the specifications of the Volterra electric vehicles to suit their unique requirements. For example, the City of Madison’s version features a 155 kW hour battery pack, a 1500 GPM single-stage pump, and a 500-gallon water tank. Similar specifications are seen in Portland Fire & Rescue’s Enforcer Volterra Pumper and Gilbert Fire and Rescue’s vehicle, with variations in chassis design and battery pack capacity.

Implications for the future of fire service

The introduction of the Pierce Volterra electric fire trucks marks a significant shift in the fire service industry towards embracing environmentally sustainable solutions without compromising on the critical aspects of firefighting. These vehicles blend zero-emission capabilities with the expected reliability of traditional fire service apparatus. The dual power source solution, combining electric drive and a conventional internal combustion engine, guarantees uninterrupted performance, crucial in emergency scenarios.

The focus on efficient, unobtrusive charging infrastructure underscores Pierce Manufacturing’s commitment to advancing vehicle technology while considering the practicalities of integrating these vehicles into existing fire service operations. This approach is likely to encourage more fire departments to transition to electric vehicles, aligning with broader environmental goals and maintaining operational excellence.

As more cities adopt these innovative electric fire trucks, their performance and reliability in firefighting strategies and emergency response will be a key area to watch. The Pierce Volterra platform may set a new standard in fire service vehicle design, balancing environmental concerns with the demanding needs of emergency response work.

This article was originally published in the February 2024 issue of Fire & Safety Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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