Washington is on track to receive the state’s first electric fire engines through grants that aim to reduce harmful diesel exhaust.
The Washington Department of Ecology has awarded $1.18 million towards the purchase of electric fire engines for the Bellevue and Redmond fire departments. The cities are expected to receive the new vehicles from Pierce Manufacturing and replace two existing diesel-powered fire engines in 2026.
“Electric fire engines are an emerging technology, with only a few in service across the nation,” said Molly Spiller, with Ecology’s Clean Diesel and Volkswagen Settlement programs, which provided the funding. “Through these grants, we’re hoping to showcase what is possible and raise public awareness about the many benefits of zero-emission transportation.”
Until now, fire trucks have typically relied on diesel engines, which release greenhouse gas emissions, along with toxic tailpipe emissions that pose cardiovascular and respiratory health risks both to firefighters and surrounding communities, especially those located along major transportation corridors. Over their useful lifetimes, the two new electric fire engines will eliminate more than 500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. They will be based at stations in Bellevue and Redmond communities that experience higher than average levels of air pollution.
“The Bellevue Fire Department is excited to be one of the first in the nation to bring an electric fire engine onboard,” said David Beste, deputy chief in the Bellevue Fire Department’s Bureau of Support Services. “As a department that is truly committed to protecting its community, we are excited to continue providing emergency care, while reducing the long-term health effects of diesel exhaust for our community and environment."
“This collaboration demonstrates how we can utilize technology to lessen our reliance on carbon fuels,” added Redmond Fire Chief Adrian Sheppard. “We’ve investigated the technology, and we know an electric fire engine can provide the service and protection our community depends on – and we’ll be delivering that service using a cleaner vehicle that will help improve air quality in our city.”
Transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Washington, harming human health and heating the planet’s atmosphere to create the conditions for climate change. Ecology’s Clean Diesel and Volkswagen Settlement programs work alongside a suite of other policies designed to accelerate the state’s transition to zero-emission cars, trucks, and buses.
More clean transportation grant opportunities will be announced later this summer and fall. Interested people can subscribe here for clean diesel and VW grant announcements.