Madison is Running the First-Ever Electric Fire Truck in North America
by Mahanth Joishy, Fleet Superintendent
Pierce, Madison Fire Department (MFD), Reliant Fire Apparatus, and Fleet have a business relationship spanning back for decades, supplying the courageous men and women of MFD with the rugged heavy-duty trucks they need to respond to emergencies. Whether pumper, ladder, squad, or tiller the Pierce brand has supported the MFD mission with reliability over the years. Meanwhile, Madison has supported the Wisconsin economy by purchasing from this Appleton manufacturer.
Now Madison and Pierce have entered a higher dimension of firefighting with a battery-electric fire truck, the first one to ever operate in real emergency response conditions by any fire department in all of North America. This is truly an all-Wisconsin story. The Pierce Volterra demonstration unit has been successfully operating on Madison’s East side out of MFD Station 8 since May 21, 2021. Without operational issues or compromise, many gallons of diesel have been saved, while dramatic emissions reductions are being achieved daily with the Volterra’s electric drive. Pierce, over years of engineering and science research and development it took to make the Volterra a reality, had kept Madison in mind as the first destination for the first prototype.
We are confident that this truck will work well, and we expect to add more Volterras to the fleet in the future. Fleet technicians have received special maintenance training, while responders have learned the new features that would apply on the road or at the scene. Other cities no doubt would like to follow the lead paved by Pierce, with support from parent company Oshkosh, and Madison. The truck was auspiciously unveiled at Station 8 on June 8, 2021 with comments by Fire Chief Steven Davis, Pierce CEO Steve Johnson, Madison Gas & Electric CEO Jeff Keebler, Fleet Superintendent Mahanth Joishy, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, and Governor Tony Evers. This has been a true partnership between the groups, along with Engineering electricians who installed the charging infrastructure at Station 8.The Volterra is the 61st electric vehicle (EV) being operated by Madison fleets including MFD, Police, Streets, Parks, and many other sister agencies, with more on the way. This is a key initiative in Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s Climate Forward. We are only at the beginning of the sustainability revolution, and Madison will continue working to remain the tip of the spear globally in the coming years. To learn more about the Volterra please check out this short informative video!
And visit here to read about all of our sustainability initiatives.