Volvo Penta electric driveline is a game changer for the fire truck of the future

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Volvo Penta has developed an electric driveline for leading fire service vehicle manufacturer Rosenbauer’s pioneering fire truck, enabling an innovative new solution with zero exhaust emissions and significantly reduced noise levels. 

Volvo Penta has been collaborating with its longstanding customer Rosenbauer to develop an electric driveline for the platform and industrialised version of the company’s Concept Fire Truck (CFT), known as Revolutionary Technology (RT). By walking away from conventional commercial vehicle concepts and developing an electric solution for the truck’s driveline instead, Volvo Penta and Rosenbauer introduced a completely new vehicle architecture that looks set to revolutionise the fire service industry and bring benefits such as zero exhaust emissions and significantly reduced noise levels. With its electric driveline, the fire truck boasts excellent ergonomics, functionality, and safety, as well as high loading volumes, compact dimensions and agility. The RT is currently undergoing intensive testing and will soon pass its next major milestone, when it enters real-world customer testing later this year with fire departments in Berlin, Amsterdam and Dubai.

“After many years of successful collaboration with Rosenbauer, we’re proud to be pioneering electric drivelines and partnering with them on this revolutionary project,” says Paul Jansson, chief project manager at Volvo Penta. “Our close partnership and deep understanding of our customers’ needs guided us in the development of the electric driveline for the new fire truck. Starting customer testing really brings home what the teams have managed to achieve together. This is our first industrial OEM partnership in the area of electromobility and it’s a big step towards creating a new product platform of the future.”

The new fire truck aims to provide an answer to global megatrends such as climate change, shifting demographics and urbanisation – and their impact on fire departments’ work. 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 a great driving performance.

The Volvo Penta-powered RT truck will help fire departments around the world reduce fuel costs as well as improve safety and functionality. Each axle of the truck is powered by an electric motor and the energy storage system allows for an electricity-powered journey with ample time for operation at the rescue site. In addition, the new electrically powered truck has a backup diesel engine on board in case the journey or operation takes longer than expected.

“The teams at Volvo Penta and Rosenbauer have been working together closely to design a tailored solution that enables the electric fire truck to do its job in a more safe, effective and sustainable way than a conventional vehicle,” says Dieter Siegel, CEO at Rosenbauer International. “Together, we have created the most revolutionary and progressive vehicle in the fire service industry. We have been collaborating with Volvo Penta for many years, they are the experts in this field and they truly understand our needs.”

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. An important job, since the electric driveline is the heart of the electric vehicle. The result is a proven Volvo Group technological solution that is tailored to meet Rosenbauer’s needs. 

“At Volvo Penta, we see ourselves as partners, not suppliers to our OEM customers – so collaborating with Rosenbauer in this way is not unusual for us,” concludes Björn Ingemanson, president of Volvo Penta. “We want to become the world leader in sustainable power solutions and help our customers to future-proof their businesses by meeting the increased demands for cleaner, quieter and more efficient power solutions. This project demonstrates an important step in this journey.”