This is an interesting one. Electric vehicles catch fire less frequently than gas-powered vehicles. However, if they do catch fire, their battery fires are a bit different and can take a long time to put out. They can also reignite if not put out adequately. Firefighters around the world have adapted, but one way a British company is looking to help is by designing a fire truck tailor made for putting out EV fires. Clever. This fire truck is also designed to be better at accessing and putting out fires in parking garages.
The new fire truck is called the HILOAD 6×6 Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV). Here’s more on its EV firefighting capabilities:
“Among the other equipment which the increased payload helps carry, the HILOAD can be fitted with the Coldcut Cobra system for extinguishing EV battery fires.
“The Cobra Ultra High Pressure Lance (UHPL) system uses an abrasive suspended in water to pierce a hole through floor pans and inject water at 300bar – more than 100 times the pressure of the air in a typical car tyre – throughout the module casing . This water cools directly inside the battery and thus prevents propagation and further possibility of a thermal runaway.
“Unlike alternatives which involve pumping thousands of litres of water into the vehicle in an attempt to cool the whole battery, independent tests from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency showed the Coldcut Cobra system could prevent cell propagation within 10 minutes, using just 240 litres of water – that’s less than a bath-full and 20% of the HILOAD’s tank capacity.”
Clever. While the HILOAD 6×6 RIV (perhaps not the catchiest name) is built in York, England, it is being tested in the Czech Republic.
This fire truck reportedly has other benefits beyond electric vehicles and parking garages (“car parks” as the British call them) as well. “Away from urban car park environments, the enhanced traction and reduced ground pressure resulting from a 6-wheel drive set-up can also prove invaluable for tackling fires in remote and challenging environments such as forests and heathland. The HILOAD can get to these fires faster while carrying more crew, water and equipment into wild terrain.”
Initially, when I saw this story, I thought it was going to be news of another electric fire truck. We’ve written about a few of those already.
As a final note, I found this quite interesting: Car manufacturers have their own firefighting fleets. That makes a lot of sense, considering the testing they have to do, but it had never crossed my mind as a possibility. It turns out that one electric car manufacturer already has this new fire truck in their fleet.
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