The Electric Firetruck Acid Test

From the Toronto Sun, a note on a new fire truck in Vancouver. It’s electric.

“… the new e-truck will cost $300,000 more than a comparable diesel model, pump 40 per cent less water and have such a short range (30 km) because of its enormous weight that it will have to have backup diesel power in case it runs out of juice on the way to a blaze.”

It seems like an incredibly stupid purchase, guaranteed to get you booted out of office. Let’s see if it’s accurate. A “fact check” if you will.

The central question is, “Is it likely purchases of this nature will contribute significantly to saving us from the coming climate horror, or is it a vanity bonfire fueled by virtue signaling public officials?” We’re provisionally accepting the assumption of CO2 precipitated planetary catastrophe here, because it is a religious tenet for a goodly majority of Vancouverites… who elected the people who bought the truck. The virtue Vancouver public officials are signaling is sacrosanct.

Still, some questions naturally follow (though I doubt Vancouver asked them).

How much emitted CO2 will it prevent? Is there data about life cycle carbon emissions for EV vs ICE (internal combustion engines)?

There is, and Bjorn Lomborg references a comprehensive set of data at the International Energy Agency in a WSJ article. Policies Pushing Electric Vehicles Show Why Few People Want One:

Making batteries for electric cars also requires a massive amount of energy, mostly from burning coal in China. Add it all up and the International Energy Agency estimates that an electric car emits a little less than half as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered one.

The climate effect of our electric-car efforts in the 2020s will be trivial. If every country achieved its stated ambitious electric-vehicle targets by 2030, the world would save 231 million tons of CO2 emissions. Plugging these savings into the standard United Nations Climate Panel model, that comes to a reduction of 0.0002 degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

Vehicle electrification is having a very small impact on future climate. And an electric firetruck’s contribution to CO2 reduction is proportionally much less than a car’s. A firetruck is driven very few miles compared to a car, and since driving is where the emissions are actually saved an electric firetruck is CO2 reduction theater. A better use of well over a million dollars would have have been replacement of every city car with an EV. Well, except for public safety vehicles like police cars. They’d have to be hybrids if they were appropriate to their mission.

As the article alludes, the firetruck needs diesel backup. Unsurprisingly, it’s an OEM option. If we look at the truck specs we can see whether that’s really optional; get some indication about whether the range is only 30 kilometers; and gain some insight into how well the truck can pump water once it gets to the fire.

The truck is an Austrian made Rosenbauer RT, and there is a claim here that it can go 100 kilometers, round trip. That would be 60 miles.

“The system is set to be recharged incredibly quickly and can power the truck for 100 km of driving; Moore notes that in Vancouver they usually only drive five to 10 km, and never anywhere near 100 km. And if they do need power for an extended period of time there is a range extender, a 350 hp diesel engine from BMW which can refill the batteries faster than driving depletes them. Using that it can go another 300 to 400 km.”

No word on what ‘incredibly quickly’ means, but with a dedicated 350 HP Beamer diesel, it doesn’t matter. Of course, that makes it a hybrid, not an EV.

The range discrepancy might be explained by the fact that there are options for 1 or 2 50KW hour battery packs, and how far it can go/how long it can pump will vary depending on the outside temperature.

On the pumping question we have this:

With the battery packs at 100% of charge, the water pump can work continuously for one hour at 528 gpm until the charge falls to 20%. When the turbodiesel engine kicks in, the truck can keep pumping water for five hours more.

With 2 battery packs then, it can pump for an hour. Let’s assume 80% of that is available given the need to drive to and from the fire. That’s 48 minutes. That’s maybe 24 minutes with a single battery pack.

It seems that each truck would have to be equipped with the Beamer diesel in order to fulfill a mission of public safety. Practically, that means it’s a hybrid, not an EV. The carbon emissions it does save? At best, that’s for an hour of operation per fire. But then it has to be recharged…

Beyond the base emission scenario there are carbon questions related to a firetruck’s job.

Are the batteries in Vancouver’s new truck kept up solely by a combination of dedicated windmills, solar panels, and hydro power? If not, there is a carbon cost to having it sit in the firehouse.

Is there additional carbon generated by fires that will burn longer, or spread, with less water being delivered? Is the cost of increased property damage considered? What about increased danger to life and limb?

The laser focus on CO2 emissions is the same error similar myopic apparatchiks made with the CCP virus. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE MATTERS but flattening the curve. Pathetic.

So, right in line with the logic behind mandating electric vehicles before we have the means of powering them. Ref: California, where internal combustion engine vehicles were banned by 2035 just a few days before EV owners were asked not to charge their EVs due to threats of rolling blackouts.

Get back to me when you have affordable electricity infrastructure in place. You’ll need nukes.