In a rather surprising move, the London Fire Brigade decided to replace all of its 60 Vauxhall Astras with a fleet of BMW i3 REx models. The move aims at offering an example for other road goers and to start using more and more eco-friendly cars in all government institutions from now on. Later down the road five more hybrid cars will join the fleet, to attend emergency incidents and other Brigade business across the capital.
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With the addition of these 52 BMWs, the London Fire Brigade became the most environmentally friendly fire brigade in the UK. The i3 cars are LFB branded and fitted with blue lights and sirens.
“Officers often travel at speed across London, so it was essential the cars could stand up to the rigors 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,” said London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson.
“In our 150th year, while celebrating our past we’re also investing in the future and it’s vital that we adopt policies 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. Taking on the vehicles means we have achieved our ambition to become a ‘Go Ultra Low Company’ – with a commitment to operate low emission vehicles on at least 5% of its fleet by 2020,” he added.
“I am pleased that the London Fire Brigade has incorporated electric vehicles into its fleet and is using them to respond to critical incidents. Plug-in vehicles are better for the environment and cost-effective to run, and they can be used for a wide range of purposes,” said Transport Minister John Hayes. “I am proud to say that we have pledged more than £600m to support the electric vehicle industry up until 2020, including funding for nearly 180 electric vehicles being used by emergency services,” he added.
The cars can be charged at 73 fire stations across London but since these are REx models, the range shouldn’t be an issue, should an emergency arrive. According to the first reports from officers using the cars already, most of the time the i3s have plenty of battery and rarely they end up using the 650cc internal combustion engine in the boot.