When I was a journalism student 20 years ago, fuel cell technology was a buzzy topic of conversation in the automotive world. Ferrari obsessed, I initially wanted to become an automotive journalist and wrote a lengthy school assignment on powering cars with hydrogen. I was totally fascinated imagining a fuel cell future, and the Toyota Mirai is one such hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle produced today (though hydrogen fueling stations remain in short supply).
I still don’t have a Ferrari and I ended up starting out as a golf writer (talk about a lucky break, being a golf lover too), but I kept an eye over the ensuing years on the shifting of these green gears. In late October, General Motors announced plans to install 4,000 charging stations that will recharge any brand of electric vehicle to increase infrastructure in Canada. The B.C. govenrment is handing out rebates to builders who add charging stations to apartment and condo dwellings. Petro Canada is boasting of Canada’s first electric highway consisting of charging stations every 250 km or less from Halifax to Victoria.
What people drive everyday is a big part of mainstreaming new technologies. The electric race in the domestic North American market is tight, with Ford and General Motors in a battery-arms race to meet President Joe Biden’s desired deadline for half of all new cars in America to be battery powered by 2030. GM’s targeting a global goal of 100 per cent of its vehicles sourcing running on a renewable source by 2035.
The automotive industries are converging on an electric future with emissions free vehicles on the road en masse, and it feels like a very real, tangible and significant step forward for the planet.
Now, there will be three fire apparatus manufacturers — Rosenbauer, Pierce Manufacturing and REV Fire Group — with electric fire trucks seving the North American market.
Electric fire trucks are what is most novel, but this focus is not meant to overlook the number of idle reduction and idle mitigation technologies on the market that can be adapted to existing fleets for departments looking to reduce their carbon footprint and create fewer unhealthy fumes.
The options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are growing and showcasing humanity’s capacity for truly inspired innovation in the face of climate change.
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