Queensland fire fighters trial electric truck

Volvo FM electric truck. | Newsreel
QFES has placed the first Australian order for a Volvo FMX electric prime mover. | Photo: Trygve Finkelsen (iStock)

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services will operate Volvo Australia’s first electric truck under a 12-month trial.

QFES will take delivery of two new green prime movers, the second one running on Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).

Built at the Volvo factory in Wacol, Brisbane, the HVO-powered truck comes with the latest 13-litre Euro 6 technology, allowing it to run on either the alternative fuel or regular diesel.

Queensland Fire and Disaster Recovery Minister Nikki Boyd said during the trial, the prime mover, to be based in Townsville, would be operated solely on HVO to test its ability to survive the rigours of the job, covering significant distances across North Queensland on the alternative fuel source.

“The electric-powered truck, the first Volvo FMX electric prime mover ordered in Australia, will be based at Caloundra and will be used for logistics delivery runs as part of its trial,” Minister Boyd said.

She said QFES Fleet had undertaken significant research into alternative technologies and reduced carbon fuel options to decarbonise the heavy vehicle fleet and was working towards meeting Queensland Government emissions targets.

An evaluation trial will be undertaken during the first 12 months of operational service with data collated via on-board vehicle information management systems and field evaluations from QFES personnel, with the support of Volvo.

“This trial breaks new ground for Queensland’s emergency services and represents a significant step forward for greener transportation,” Minister Boyd said.

“QFES is the first Queensland Government department to introduce and conduct a trial operating heavy vehicles on HVO and pure electric.

“Volvo is at the forefront of electrified heavy road transport technology and I have no doubt firefighters will be eager to participate in this trial and get behind the wheel.”

She said further adoption of electric and HVO-powered trucks would have a positive impact on all Queenslanders, through lower emissions, a reduction in noise pollution and in the case of electric vehicles, lower running costs.

QFES Commissioner Steve Smith said both the electric and HVO-powered trucks would be trialed in non-critical operations, allowing QFES to assess the benefits of the vehicles before adopting them further into the fleet.

“There are about 500 heavy vehicles in the Fire and Rescue Service fleet and another 1030 in the Rural Fire Service, so this pilot plays a pivotal role in shaping the approach we take towards the decarbonisation of our service.”