Revolutionary Volvo Penta-powered electric fire trucks are on their way to customers

Friday, September 25, 2020

Three pioneering fire trucks featuring Volvo Penta electric drivelines are on their way to fire departments in Berlin, Amsterdam and Dubai to begin real-world customer testing.

Volvo Penta has developed an electric driveline for leading fire service vehicle manufacturer Rosenbauer’s pioneering fire truck, named ‘Revolutionary Technology’ (RT). The truck – which features groundbreaking drive technology, vehicle architecture, operability and connectivity – was officially launched at an event in Austria. The RTs will now be sent to fire departments in Berlin, Amsterdam and Dubai to begin real-world customer testing.

Revolutionising the fire service industry

By walking away from conventional commercial vehicle concepts and developing an electric solution for the truck’s driveline, Volvo Penta and its customer Rosenbauer have introduced a completely new vehicle architecture that is set to transform the fire service industry. With its electric driveline, the fire truck boasts excellent ergonomics, functionality, and safety, as well as high loading volumes, compact dimensions and one-of-a-kind agility. The Volvo Penta electric driveline also brings benefits such as zero exhaust emissions and significantly reduced noise levels. 

“We are extremely proud to collaborate with our longstanding customer Rosenbauer and help create the most revolutionary and progressive vehicle in the fire service industry,” says Paul Jansson, chief project manager at Volvo Penta. “Our two teams worked closely together during the development process and the result is an industry-leading truck that will help fire departments around the world improve safety and functionality, as well as reduce emissions and fuel costs.”

The fire truck of the future

Firefighters responding to a call need a vehicle capable of high speed, rapid acceleration, hard braking and manoeuvrability. The RT’s electric driveline, paired with independent suspension and a hydropneumatic chassis, delivers a high standard of safety and great driving performance. 

The Volvo Penta-powered RT features two electric motors that have the potential to provide a total output of up to 360kW (490hp) and up to 50,000Nm for all wheels. The truck’s energy storage system allows for an electricity-powered journey with ample time for operation at the rescue location. In addition, there is a backup diesel engine on board, providing sufficient energy supply should the journey or operation take longer.

Proven Volvo technology

As part of the Volvo Group, Volvo Penta leveraged proven technology and competence from Volvo Trucks and Volvo Buses and adapted it to meet the performance requirements of a fire service application. The result is a proven Volvo Group technological solution that is tailored to meet Rosenbauer’s specific needs. 

“The RT is in a different league to modern standard firefighting vehicles in terms of its operational tactical benefits, loading options and firefighting equipment,” says Dieter Siegel, CEO at Rosenbauer International. “Volvo Penta already supplied us with diesel engines for our conventional fire trucks. After many years of successful collaboration – coupled with the fact that they are part of the Volvo Group that is leading the way when it comes to electromobility and electric trucks – they were the ideal partner for the RT project. We’ve worked together closely to design a tailored solution, using proven Volvo technology, that enables our electric fire truck to do its job in a safer, more effective and more sustainable way than a conventional vehicle.”

The future is electric 

Volvo Penta takes a full system, modular approach to electromobility. “We can create a flexible, bespoke electric driveline solution for a specific vehicle and application,” explains Jansson. “We are very experienced in our different segments, so by using that knowledge and combining it with the Volvo Group’s electromobility experience, we can build the best modular platform for our customer’s applications. With that as a base, we can optimise the design and adapt the complete electric driveline system for a specific vehicle, considering the exact application, usage, climate and environment it will operate in. This is what we did for Rosenbauer and we’re doing it in other development projects too, such as our fully electric terminal tractor.”