QFES begins Australian-first truck trial

QFES media launch at Volvo head office in Brisbane.

Two new prime movers are set to be delivered to QFES as part of an Australian first trial.

The Volvo trucks – one running on Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and the other electric – will support operational logistics at Caloundra and Townsville.

Built at the Volvo factory in Wacol, Brisbane, the HVO-powered truck comes with the latest 13-litre Euro 6 technology, allowing it to run on either the alternative fuel or regular diesel.

During the trial, the prime mover – to be based in Townsville – will be operated solely on HVO to test its ability to survive the rigours of the job, covering significant distances across North Queensland on the alternative fuel source.

The electric-powered truck – the first Volvo FMX electric prime mover ordered in Australia – will be based at Caloundra and will be used for logistics delivery runs as part of its trial.

QFES Fleet has undertaken significant research into alternative technologies and reduced carbon fuel options to decarbonise the heavy vehicle fleet and is working towards meeting Queensland Government emissions targets.

An evaluation trial will be undertaken during the first 12 months of operational service with data collated via on-board vehicle information management systems and field evaluations from QFES personnel, with the support of Volvo.

There will also be a collaborative arrangement with the University of Queensland, in which the university’s researchers will support the evaluation phase of the trial.

“This trial breaks new ground for Queensland’s emergency services and represents a significant step forward for greener transportation,” said Minister for Fire, Disaster Recovery and Minister for Corrective Services Nikki Boyd.

“The State Government is proud to be forging ahead with this trial and the move toward decarbonising the QFES fleet.”

QFES, it is understood, is the first Queensland Government department to introduce and conduct a trial operating heavy vehicles on HVO and pure electric.

“Volvo is at the forefront of electrified heavy road transport technology and I have no doubt firefighters will be eager to participate in this trial and get behind the wheel,” said Boyd.

“The further adoption of electric and HVO-powered trucks will have a positive impact on all Queenslanders, through lower emissions, a reduction in noise pollution and in the case of electric vehicles, lower running costs.”

Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni said with the transport sector contributing more than 15 per cent of Queensland’s total emissions, it’s critical all facets of Government work together to decarbonise their operations.

“Today’s announcement not only benefits the hardworking women and men of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, but so too does it support local manufacturing and clean economy jobs,” he said.

“By partnering with Volvo to deliver this nation-leading trial, the Miles Government is locking in a future made in Queensland, for Queenslanders.”

Nikki Boyd, Member for Inala Margie Nightingale, Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs Mick de Brenni.

At last year’s Brisbane Truck Show, Volvo executives announced they had received the first Australian order for an electric FMX prime mover from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

Commissioner Steve Smith said his department was proud to be leading the charge in the effort to reduce emissions.

“Both the electric and HVO-powered truck will be trialed in a non-critical tier of response and operations, allowing QFES the ability to assess the benefits of the vehicles before adopting them further into the fleet,” he said.

“There are about 500 heavy vehicles in the Fire and Rescue Service fleet and another 1030 in the Rural Fire Service, so this pilot plays a pivotal role in shaping the approach we take towards the decarbonisation of our service.

“HVO is a renewable, fossil-free fuel type that can be used interchangeably with regular diesel in a Euro 6 specified engine, without further modifications or any compromise on power.

“Most importantly, the use of HVO gives a carbon emissions reduction of about 95 per cent compared to diesel.

“QFES Fleet will work with regional staff to install charging infrastructure at key hubs to support the adoption of the electric prime mover, while also establishing a reliable source of HVO for the prime mover headed for Townsville.”

Earlier in 2024, Volvo Group Australia committed to manufacturing battery electric vehicles in its facility at Wacol,

Volvo Group Australia vice-president of public affairs, Lauren Pulitano said the company was further building on its 50-year history of local manufacturing.

“Our commitment to local manufacturing of electric vehicles in Wacol by as early as 2027 means that soon trucks, like this Volvo FMX, will be made right here in this factory,” she said.

“No one can get to zero emissions alone – we need partnerships.

“Industry, government, and other stakeholders all have a responsibility to work together to reduce emissions.

“Volvo is dedicated to partnering with Australian industry to decarbonise heavy transport.

“This is evident in the world-leading electric trucks, technology, and global experience we are bringing to Australia’s transition.”

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