Adds 52 range-extender cars to its first responder fleet.

The London Fire Brigade has taken delivery of 52 examples of the BMW i3 electric car in an effort to reduce its emissions footprint.

Obviously, the i3s are not actually fire trucks - they would be worse than useless in that role. They are, in fact, rapid response cars used by incident commanders and other officers to get to wherever they may be needed in the city.

With their red and yellow liveries, LFB branding, blue lights, and sirens, you’ll certainly be able to see and hear the i3s coming, despite the lack of any engine noise. They're equipped with the optional range-extender powertrain, with an auxiliary petrol generator - actually a BMW motorcycle engine - to charge the batteries on the move. Though users have reported the generator rarely kicks in.

The top speed of 90 miles-per-hour (145 kilometres-per-hour) might not sound like much for an emergency response vehicle, but it’s faster than you can realistically go anywhere in central London. More importantly, acceleration from a standstill up to 40 or 50 mph (65 to 80 km/h) will easily beat the diesel-engined Vauxhall Astras that have been used until now.

As a result of its efforts to reduce emissions, the LFB has been accredited by the UK government’s Go Ultra Low campaign, which encourages and incentivises companies to adopt low-emission vehicles. 73 firehouses across London have charging points for the i3s.

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said: “Officers often travel at speed across London, so it was essential the cars could stand up to the rigours of being a ‘blue light’ vehicle, as well as having green credentials. I am proud that the Brigade is leading the move from diesel to electric, which will make a big difference to the air quality for Londoners.

“In our 150th year, while celebrating our past we’re also investing in the future and it’s vital that we adopt vehicles today that future generations will thank us for. Who knows, perhaps in the future we will also be the first brigade to run a fleet of electric fire engines.”

The LFB isn’t the first emergency service force to adopt the i3; earlier this year the Los Angeles Police Department ordered 100 of them.


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