It’s great to see new sectors starting to seriously go electric. And we’ve got another one that’s in that camp — fire trucks.
Rosenbauer is moving toward production of an electric fire truck named “Revolutionary Technology,” and Volvo Penta has announced that it has now partnered with Rosenbauer to supply the powertrain.
“By adapting proven technology from Volvo Trucks and Volvo Buses, Volvo Penta and its customer Rosenbauer have introduced the world’s first electric fire truck, with a completely new vehicle architecture. This project is a true example of Volvo Penta’s customer-focused evolutionary approach,” the company writes.
“We announced our emob partnership with Rosenbauer in 2019, and we have gone from concept to start of production in record time,” says Giorgio Paris, President of Volvo Penta Industrial. “This is a milestone in our electrification journey. We see a growing demand for electric solutions in the market today and – through collaboration and pilot projects, such as this one – we aim to meet this demand and the expectations of the future.”
So, look out — perhaps we will start seeing electric fire truck stories like all of the electric bus stories we love to write about.
The technology being used is not exactly new tech — it’s proven tech that is used elsewhere but has been adapted a bit for the unique size and needs of a fire truck. For example, 4 electric motors are used instead of the typical 3, yet in a relatively compact vehicle. “All four electric machines have to be able to run simultaneously – two for propulsion, one for the range extender to provide extra battery power, and one for electric power takeoff, if fire-fighters want to rotate the foam pump for example.” Volvo Penta also created a new Active Cooling Unit (ACU) in order to fit it into the compact space necessary in a fire truck, and the unit pulls 600V of power instead of the typical 24V in order to cool the truck as well as the battery.
Three of these fire trucks have already hit the streets. They are in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Dubai — cities that have taken leadership positions in electric mobility before. “So far, the crews have been amazed at the RT’s battery capacity and the many other advantages of not having a large diesel engine – such as increase crew cabin space and more side panel storage,” the companies state. Here’s a German video on the topic that you may not be able to understand (unless you understand German) but includes great visuals nonetheless:
“We have developed strong working relationships with our customers over many years, which is key in the transformation towards more sustainable and new technology solutions,” Giorgio Paris says. “By working closely on different applications and in an array of sectors we can develop solutions – in a stepwise approach – that are reliable, safe, and create value, with the aim to bring an electromobility platform to our customers.”
With three on the road and working well — and making customers quite happy — the Volvo Penta and Rosenbauer are moving forward into the next step. “Now the first electric drivelines have entered the production stage at the Volvo Penta Vara plant in Sweden. Here the ACU is manufactured, and the system is kitted – loaded with software and packed together – to make installation as straightforward as possible for the customer.”