Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service (WFRS) are trialling the introduction of electric vehicles, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions.
Warwickshire County Council, of which WFRS is a part, have pledged to be net zero by 2030 and to lead the county to be the same by 2050 or earlier. These trials are part of a larger plan to achieve that goal.
Moving to an electric-powered fleet of vehicles is seen as a key step in the journey to reduce carbon emissions and WFRS is currently trialling the Hyundai Kona, with a Kia EV6 soon to follow, which will be used for response. Both produce no exhaust emissions and are cheaper to run, with the Kia EV6 also been chosen due to its quick charge times and range.
This trial could pave the way for the delivery of further electric response vehicles to be added to the fleet over the coming two years.
To reduce its greenhouse gas emissions on fire appliances, WFRS are soon to be trialling the use of bio-diesel fuel in some of their vehicles, starting with non-operational vehicles such as driver training appliances and those used at their new Training and Development Centre at Kingsbury.
Even though both fossil diesel and green diesel can be mixed, the fire service is keen to ensure that only one type of fuel is used for the trial so that any issues can clearly be identified as either the engine or fuel.
Green diesel is a direct replacement for fossil diesel, with tests showing that it does not have a direct effect on performance or damage the vehicles. It also has a higher flash point for spillages and storage, meaning it’s less flammable.
Some of the benefits of switching to green diesel include:
- Reducing carbon emissions by 90% compared to fossil diesel, as certified by the ISCC.
- It’s made entirely from waste
- It’s sourced under the Red II directive
- It doesn’t deteriorate when stored in a tank
- It provides a near identical energy output in both variable and fixed speed engines.
Should the trial be successful, the fire service aims to roll out green bio-diesel across its fuel reserves in the future, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions as a result.
Cllr Andy Crump, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for WFRS said: “Transport can make a huge contribution to air quality and the environment. Switching to electric vehicles is just one positive way in which we can reduce the amount of pollutants in our towns and cities.
“We’re committed to supporting the county of Warwickshire in its efforts to tackle climate change and switching to electric and bio-diesel fuels are steps we can take to make our work more environmentally friendly.
Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture added “We’ve got ambitious targets to reach on climate change across Warwickshire and everyone needs to play their part. It’s great to see WFRS using new electric vehicles and trialling different fuels, and we look forward to seeing the programme expand even further”.