Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette helped unveil the prototype of an electric ambulance that will be purchased with New Jersey Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction proceeds and housed in the City of Paterson.
Commissioner LaTourette joined First Priority Group Electrified’s facility opening on Tuesday, featuring two Demers eFX Prototype Ambulances that will be housed at the Paterson Fire Department in Passaic County. The DEP earlier this year awarded $908,686 to the Paterson Fire Department to purchase the two ambulances and two fast-charging stations, replacing two diesel-powered ambulances. The award and purchase support the Murphy Administration’s commitment to electrify the transportation sector, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The new ambulances are expected to go into service in about a year.
“This purchase represents an exciting step forward in the Murphy Administration’s commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to the harmful effects of climate change and impact air pollution in our most vulnerable communities,” Commissioner LaTourette said at the event. “Ambulances sit idling for extended periods of time, impacting air quality. The conversion of emergency response vehicles to electric-powered drivetrains will result in a significant reduction of air pollutants, benefiting our communities and enhancing public health.”
Bringing the electric ambulances to New Jersey will have significant benefits and emissions reductions for the City of Paterson, Passaic County and surrounding neighborhoods including Clifton, Haledon, North Haledon, Prospect Park, Totowa and the William Paterson University area. Paterson is an overburdened community in which 51.5% of the population are low-income households and 91.4% are classified as minority households.
To further leverage its RGGI auction proceeds, the DEP applied for and has been awarded approximately $1 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds for idle-reduction technology projects specific to police cars and ambulances.
Ambulances typically drive approximately 4,000 hours and idle for more than 2,000 hours because they must always be ready to go out on calls. For each hour spent idling, a typical ambulance burns 1.17 gallons of diesel, producing more than 20 pounds of greenhouse gases.
“The electric ambulances will provide a prototype that can help transition the nation’s emergency response fleet to zero emission vehicles,” said First Priority Group CEO Alex Cherepakhov. “Moreover, the high visibility of police, fire and other emergency medical service vehicles will generate significant public interest and send a clear message to citizens in New Jersey and throughout the country that community leaders are serious about reducing pollutants and safeguarding the health and welfare of their communities.”
Established in 1998, First Priority Group is a diversified manufacturer and dealer of emergency and specialty vehicles. FPG Electrified was created to assist its customers in electrifying their fleets and creating a line of purpose-built electric emergency vehicles.
Other speakers at Tuesday’s private event in Morris County included Dist. 24 State Sen. Steve Oroho, Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott, NJ Clean Cities Coalition Chairman Chuck Feinberg, Demers Braun Crestline National Sales Director Greg Tucci, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon and New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner for Support Services Robert Martinez.