How to turn long-haul trucking all-electric? Tractor swapping!


Current battery technology places the same range restrictions on electric commercial trucks as on electric cars.

So while electric trucks may be suitable for local delivery service and other short-range operations, they can’t cut it in long-haul trucking at the moment.

However, Swiss rail-infrastructure company Furrer+Frey has a fairly simple and low-tech solution: tractor swapping.

Furrer+Frey—which provides equipment for rail electrification—recently acquired Opbrid, a developer of overhead-pantograph charging systems for trucks and buses.

The combined companies (as Furrer+Frey Opbrid) are now investigating ways to electrify long-haul trucks.

Tractor swapping may be one of the most straightforward ways to accomplish that, argued Opbrid founder and current Furrer+Frey executive Roger Bedell in a recent presentation covered by Green Car Congress (via Charged EVs).

Read more: How to turn long-haul trucking all-electric? Tractor swapping!

Fire department’s new rescue truck arrives; now in service for city


CORDOVA — The Cordova Fire Department’s new rescue truck is now in service.

Members of the Cordova City Council got their first opportunity to inspect the truck at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The department purchased the 2016 F-550 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.

Fire Chief Dean Harbison said the truck will be a great assest for the department and the community.

“Our department is able to respond with a much more capable truck designed for firefighting and rescue services,” Harbison said. “We were able to remove two vehicles in our fleet and replaced them with this one truly multi-purpose vehicle. We are very thankful that the AFG program approved our grant request for this much needed vehicle so that we can better serve our community.”

The truck seats up to six people and has more capabilities than the 1995 year-model ambulance that it is replacing.

“Having this new truck allows us to carry all of our medical equipment for basic and advanced life support. It also carries several rescue tools such as the “Jaws of Life” which we use to cut people free from wrecked vehicles, lifting airbags which can lift large vehicles or equipment and rescue struts which are used to stabalize these large vehicles and collapsed walls. It can also be used to fight small fires with its onboard water and foam systems,” Harbison said.

Read more: Fire department’s new rescue truck arrives; now in service for city

When will the last diesel truck be sold in the U.S.? Our poll results


Diesel now has a dim future at best among U.S. passenger-car buyers, though its prospects continue to look strong for a minority of pickup truck buyers.

Heavy-duty commercial vehicles, on the other hand, largely use diesel engines as a matter of course.

We asked our Twitter followers when that would end—specifically, when the very last diesel truck would be sold in the U.S.

Unlike our polls on electric-car issues, which often skew predominantly toward a single respose, the range of opinions on this one was quite distributed.

The most common answer of our four options, chosen by 37 percent of respondents, was that the last diesel truck would be sold in 2030.

But the next most common, chosen by just over a quarter (26 percent), was “Never.”

Read more: When will the last diesel truck be sold in the U.S.? Our poll results

Manawa, Wis., Rural Fire Dept. Gets Rescue Pumper


The Manawa, Wis., Rural Fire Department have a new engine built by Marion Body Works, Inc. on a Spartan Metro Star cab and chassis. The apparatus is equipped with a four-door, six-seat climate controlled cab, and 20-inch raised roof with rear cab modification. It is powered by a Cummins ISL 450-hp engine, and an Allison 3000EVS transmission. To fight fire, it has a Hale Qmax-XS 1,500-gpm pump and 750-gallon tank with a 20-gallon foam cell. Other equipment includes wireless headsets in the cab, EMS and overhead compartments, SIM-PLEX multiplexing touch screen switching and front and side scene lights. The body has full-depth rescue-style compartments, roof storage compartments, oil dry hopper, Stallion Air Auto Fill cascade system, Harrison IHT driven TNT extrication system, awning and refrigerator. It was sold by Don Johnson, Johnson Fire Equipment, Clintonville, Wis.

Read more: Manawa, Wis., Rural Fire Dept. Gets Rescue Pumper

New Travis Body & Trailer expansion eases capacity concerns


When the market demands more than your plant can produce, it’s like sitting down for a big meal. You see more than you can possibly eat, but that doesn’t keep you from wanting dessert.

After years of tight capacity, Travis Body & Trailer is ready to gobble up more—as much as 50% more.

That’s because the Houston, Texas, trailer manufacturer has completed a multi-phase expansion program that will enable the company to more effectively meet demand. With both Phase 1 and Phase 2 now in operation, Travis has increased capacity from 800 specialty trailers a year to 1,200.

“We have increased our production footprint by 50%,” says C K “Bud” Hughes, president. “Our goal, then, is to use that space to build 50% more trailers.”

Travis has made two moves that make the entire plant more productive. The first is a 70-ft x 330-ft finishing building, a structure that centralizes multiple operations that had been scattered throughout the company’s campus. The new building has been operational since the middle of 2015. With the emphasis on fabrication and major assembly at the company’s main production building, the finishing building plays a key role in turning a large metal structure into a trailer by adding electrical, hydraulics, and even wheels and tires.

Read more: New Travis Body & Trailer expansion eases capacity concerns

As roles of fire departments change, planning remains key to keeping equipment current


The challenges currently faced by the Fall River Fire Department are not entirely unique to the city.

Just go to nearby New Bedford and ask Fire Chief Michael Gomes.

“I believe all urban Gateway Cities have struggled since the meltdown of 2009,” Gomes said in a recent email.

“The loss of large amounts of state aid to cities and towns has had a significant impact on fire protection in Gateway Cities,” Gomes said, explaining that “lack of funding has resulted in deferred purchases of vehicles, equipment and public safety building replacement.”

Not too dissimilar to the decline in fire department staffing Fall River experienced several years ago, Gomes described his city’s fire department hitting lows in staffing levels — 191 firefighters in 2010 — to a high of 236 firefighters. Today, he said, the department has a fire fighting force of 219.

Read more: As roles of fire departments change, planning remains key to keeping equipment current

Calif. Dept. Obtaining New Engine, Thanks to Resident

Marinwood officials this week recognized longtime fire commissioner Ron Marinoff for his work, including helping the Marinwood Fire Department secure a new engine.

Marinoff, 82, was a key player in helping the department roll out a $492,826 engine, set to go into service May 1, Chief Tom Roach said.

“In 1977 he became a Marinwood Fire Commissioner and he’s been involved all those years on a number of levels,” said Roach, who helped recognize Marinoff at Tuesday’s Marinwood Community Services District board meeting. “He’s instrumental in getting things done.”

For more than two years, fire department officials looked into purchasing a new fire engine to replace the district’s 21-year-old model, but had trouble coming up with the money. As a representative of the community service area for Upper Lucas Valley that contracts with Marinwood for fire service, Marinoff came up with a funding scheme.

Community Service Area 13 makes up 26 percent of the fire department’s total budget, which is $2.42 million and finances 10 full-time firefighters and a fire chief. Marinoff suggested the CSA pay its share of the engine up front instead of over 10 years.

Read more: Calif. Dept. Obtaining New Engine, Thanks to Resident 

Toyne Fire Apparatus to Display Unique Pumper at FDIC


At the 2015 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) event, there was quite a buzz in the Toyne booth. The Iowa-based fire apparatus manufacturer introduced attendees to their brand new Priority Response Vehicle (PRV) and has since been named one of the ˜Top 9 Most Interesting Firefighting Products of 2015″ by During this year’s event, which takes place at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN on April 18th through the 23rd, Toyne will unveil the PRV XL Edition.

The PRV XL Edition, which boasts an additional 87.25 cubic feet of compartment space than the PRV, also includes the versatile pump panel that is available as a “slide out and down,” slide out tool board or stationary mounted in a compartment or the cab, allowing departments to select the pump panel placement that best fits their needs. The PRV XL, just like the PRV, has been designed to do the work of two apparatus, as well as to be the first apparatus on the scene.

The PRV XL Edition also includes the versatile pump panel that is available as a “slide out and down,” slide out tool board or stationary mounted in a compartment or the cab.

“We’re looking forward to displaying the new PRV XL Edition,” said Mike Schwabe, President of Toyne. “The PRV has gone over very well for us and we continue to receive great feedback from fire departments on the enclosed pump panel options and maximized storage space.”

Read more: Toyne Fire Apparatus to Display Unique Pumper at FDIC 

Two new fire trucks come to Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety


Little did community members know in 2004 when they voted for a 10-year capital purchases bond measure for Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety (MVFLS) what a great deal their fire department would come up with 11 years later.

In an effort to put their community’s bond dollars to good use, administrators analyzed and prioritized needs while watching for the best deals. Through their analysis (with bond dollars being used for equipment and improvements only), the district determined that two rigs, 30 plus years old, needed to be replaced. Normally, each rig would have a life span of 25 years.

After researching the options, apparatus committee members and administrators determined that for the price of one outfitted engine, they could purchase 2 “program” trucks that would foot the bill for outlying stations in Ravensdale and Hobart. These two brand spanking new trucks would come with no bells or whistles. Each truck sits on a 2015 freightliner chassis and contains a 1,500 gallon water tank with a 1,250 gallon per minute pump. The department already has one tender with a 2,500 gallon capacity. Adding these two trucks to the fleet simply updates the water capabilities of the district – especially when it comes to the outlying areas of the greater Maple Valley area.

With these two new additions to the MVFLS fleet, and their water capacity, throws back memories to the 1980-90’s when the department modified a fuel truck with trailer in order to haul water around the district where needed. Finally sold off in the late 1990’s, time has come once again to strategically place the new trucks where they can be deployed quickly in time of need.

Read more: Two new fire trucks come to Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety

Mesa 1997 fire truck donated to East Valley Institute of Technology


Student firefighters at the East Valley Institute of Technology have a new donated fire truck to train with.

The Mesa City Council at a study session Monday, Nov. 9, approved donating a 1997 Pierce Quantum, 1,500-gallons-per-minute fire pumper to EVIT. It has been in service since 1997 with the Mesa Fire and Medical Department.

“It’s been a very successful program throughout the years. In the past we have donated two other trucks over the course of time that have served the students and faculty very well there,” Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh said. “It’s a great partnership to allow those students to have kind of a real-world experience on what is for them great equipment to be able to use. But I think it’s a very worthy request.”

“It’s wonderful. I’m glad we’re doing it,” Councilman Alex Finter said. He worked as a firefighter and fire captain for the city of Mesa.
The donation was approved in a 7-0 vote by the council. Voting yes were Mesa Mayor John Giles; Vice Mayor Kavanaugh, District 3; and council members David Luna, District 5; Chris Glover, District 4; Dave Richins, District 1; Mr. Finter, District 2; and Kevin Thompson, District 6.

EVIT is a public school district that serves students from 10 East Valley school districts. High school students from Apache Junction, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe, Higley and J.O. Combs spend half their day at EVIT and the other half at their sending high school. EVIT’s main campus is at 1601 W. Main St. in Mesa. For information on EVIT’s fire science program, go to

Tara Acuna, assistant to the fire chief, told the council that the truck to be donated has more than 200,000 miles on it.

Read more: Mesa 1997 fire truck donated to East Valley Institute of Technology