Dependable Emergency Vehicles, Volta Power Systems partner on lithium-ion APU

By Chad Elmore03 August 2021

Toronto Fire Services trucks equipped with zero-emission APUs enable firefighters to reduce idling and improve safety without specialized charging infrastructure.

Dependable Emergency Vehicles and Volta Power Systems collaborated to develop fire trucks with zero-emission auxiliary power units (APUs) that cut idling time and the need for on-scene generators. The power systems are part of a 16-vehicle, multi-year contract for Toronto Fire Services (TFS) to assist the organization in reducing CO2 emissions, helping them meet anti-idling goals, and improving safety by reducing noise at emergency scenes. Dependable completed the first truck featuring the new APU for TFS in November of 2020.

Powered by Volta’s technology, Dependable’s Idle Reduction & Energy Storage System (IRESS) provides each fire truck with a scalable energy storage pack and customized distribution system. The system provides all the power necessary for warning and scene lights, air conditioning, body lights, tank circulation, communication electronics, and other loads for several hours without idling or using an auxiliary generator. IRESS does not require the installation of specialized charging infrastructure, simplifying the integration process for fire departments, said the company.

“This technology enables municipal and commercial fleets to not only reduce CO2 emissions but also benefit from the reduced costs of fuel and maintenance,” said Massimo Natale, Technical Team Coordinator of Dependable in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. “We have designed IRESS to provide clean and consistent power that can be customized for all the various loads and capabilities our customers require.”

Volta’s system uses nickel-manganese cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion technology. The company said the packs provide consistent power while reducing emissions, fuel usage, maintenance costs, and the storage space necessary for the packs.

“We pride ourselves on safety, both in how our products perform and the environments they create for our users,” said Jack Johnson, co-founder and CTO of Volta Power Systems, Holland, Mich. “Dependable’s integration of our systems means that Toronto firefighters can provide their lifesaving services in a safer environment, uninhibited by idling engines or noisy, fuming generators.”

The Volta-powered system will reportedly last the full-service life of the fire trucks, with the potential to easily retrofit other existing or new vehicles, regardless of chassis or size.

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