Rosenbauer, Linz AG and Kreisel Electric (the battery specialist behind the electrified Hummer launched with the help of Arnold Schwarzenegger last year) have revealed the first fully-equipped electric fire truck in Europe. Based on a Mercedes Sprinter, the electric drive tactical vehicle will join the fleet of a fire brigade stationed in the Austrian city of Linz.

The all-electric fire truck has been 2 years in development, and is seen as a good fit for rapid response situations, with charging undertaken on site at the FHKW-Mitte fire station between calls. The vehicle is based on Rosenbauer's KLF-L emergency vehicle, which is itself based on a Mercedes Sprinter, and is 7.45 meters (24.4 ft) long with a 4.325 m (14.1 ft) wheelbase. The conversion to an electric powertrain is reported to have taken around 2 months.

A 120 kW electric motor gets its juice from four batteries, weighing in at 620 kg (1,366 lb) for a total capacity of 86 kWh. It's range is estimated as 160 km (99.4 mi), with a quick charge to 90 percent possible in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The new fire truck is reckoned to be significantly cheaper to run than combustion engine equivalents, while it's estimated that if the vehicle clocks 12,000 km (7,460 mi) per year, it will save 4.8 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Though the Kriesel vehicle is being promoted as Europe's first fully equipped modern electric fire truck, it's not the very first electric vehicle to be used by fire services in Europe (thanks to reader Lasse Reinikainen for the heads up). Self-propelled electric fire engines did briefly hit the streets in the early 1900s, before being ousted by gasoline vehicles.

You can have a good look around the electric rapid response vehicle in the video below.

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