Rosenbauer RT Shows How an Electric Fire Truck Can Go Electric
We keep talking so much about electric passenger vehicles that electromobility in other forms sometimes goes unnoticed. That was the case for the Rosenbauer RT (Revolutionary Technology), presented in September 2020. According to the Austrian company that has conceived it, the RT is the world’s first electric fire truck.
It also has a monocoque structure and other elements that make it quite a unique fire truck, such as its pneumatic suspension system. It reduces the ground clearance truck to grant easier access to equipment to firefighters. The cab can accommodate from four people up to nine crew members.
In Europe, the RT is 7.20 meters (283.5 inches) long, 2.35 m (92.5 in) wide, and 2.90 m (114.2 in) tall with a 3.80 m (149.6 in) wheelbase – the smallest one available.
In the US, due to different safety regulations, it is slightly longer: 7.30 m (287.4 in). The Rosenbauer electric truck can be ordered with a 4.10-m (161.4-in) and a 4.40-m (173.2-in) wheelbases. The suspension can have four operating ground clearances: 17.5 centimeters (6.9 in), 25 cm (9.8 in), 35 cm (13.8 in), and 47 cm (18.5 in).
That allows the vehicle to overcome most obstacles in the way. The higher ground clearances are for off-roading or fording through floods if that is necessary.
The electric fire truck has two battery pack options: one or two, which means you can order it with a single 50 kWh battery pack or with a pair, which increases the available energy to 100 kWh. The main one sits low between the front and rear axles, helping it lower its gravity center.
The second one is installed vertically, standing between the water tank and the back wall of the cabin. The fire truck can carry 946 liters of water (250 gallons) or up to 3,785 l (1,000 gal). The European specs describe 1,000 l up to 4,000 l.
The 100-kWh RT has a pure electric urban range of 100 kilometers (62 miles).
That’s the distance the fully-charged battery packs take to have just 20% of capacity left. After that point, a 200-kW (268-hp) six-cylinder turbodiesel range extender automatically fires up to increase the range in 500 km (310 mi) for a total of 600 km (372 mi). The RT may never need to consume the 125 l (33 gal) of diesel in the fuel tank.
However, an emergency vehicle cannot afford to run out of power, which makes the diesel backup a relevant one. We hope Rosenbauer considers fuel cells in the future to do the same job.
With the battery packs at 100% of charge, the water pump can work continuously for one hour at 528 gpm until the charge falls to 20%. When the turbodiesel engine kicks in, the truck can keep pumping water for five hours more.
The electric fire truck – which some will prefer to call a series hybrid – can have regular rear-view mirrors or cameras, with screens placed on each side of the windscreen.
Inside the cabin, a 17-in screen helps firefighters receive instructions or the truck driver to control the vehicle and its functions better. The RT has all the safety aids we normally see in passenger cars, such as hill-assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, front collision warning, and some that are more specific to trucks, such as turning assist.
The Rosenbauer RT will have an electric driveline created by Volvo Penta. It has four “electric machines,” as the supplier calls them: two for propulsion, one for the range extender to generate electricity, and one for electric power take-off.
The image above, released by Volvo Penta, shows precisely where the two battery packs are, as well as the other components the company is sourcing to the RT.
A revolutionary aspect of the RT that deserves to be mentioned is that its rear axle also steers. That gives the electric fire truck a turning circle of 12.5 m (41 feet) in the 3.80 m wheelbase version. The driver has the option not to use the rear axle turning, which raises the turning circle to 15 m (42.2 ft).
They can also make the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the front wheels, delivering what Rosenbauer calls “crab mode.” Considering the RT’s deliveries will start by the end of the year, it will beat the GMC Hummer EV on that.
We can’t wait to see them on duty.
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