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Rosenbauer RTX: here is the first electric fire vehicle

The transition to electric vehicles is currently gaining momentum around the world. It is all the more interesting to point out that these major changes are not limited to private vehicles but also to heavy vehicles. Moreover, we present to you today the Rosenbauer RTX a completely new generation of electrically powered emergency vehicles for the fire service.

A new era

Rosenbauer calls the RTX a reinvention of the traditional fire truck. Indeed, as with all electric vehicles, the architecture, designed differently compared to a traditional vehicle, opens up new possibilities. Among these, the company claims that the emergency vehicle benefits from more dynamic and safe driving, in addition to offering better ergonomics and more technologies on board.

These many improvements are partly due to the absence of the transmission shaft. This reduced the center of gravity and ensured better weight distribution, in order to increase the truck’s agility on the road. In addition, the RTX is equipped with an adjustable air suspension that allows the vehicle to be lowered for easier access on board or to storage areas around the truck. This suspension can also be raised in order to increase ground clearance in off-road conditions, during a fire in the forest, for example. Depending on the driving mode selected, the ground clearance can vary between 178, 254, 356 and 483 millimeters. The configuration of the vehicle also allows to have 4 directional wheels, which allows to reduce the turning radius up to 3 meters.

Some technical characteristics

The Rosenbauer RTX is an electric emergency vehicle that benefits from all-wheel drive thanks to its 2 electric motors. It has 2 Volvo Penta batteries totaling 132 kilowatt hours. Peak power is 360 kilowatts (490 horsepower), while continuous power is 260 kilowatts (350 horsepower). The impressive figure, however, comes from the available torque, which reaches 37,000 lb-ft at the wheels.

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In addition, the truck can count on a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder BMW Diesel engine that develops 300 horsepower. The latter acts as an auxiliary energy system, a bit like a generator, in case of need. This allows the batteries to be recharged when they no longer contain enough energy during an intervention, for example.

In terms of recharge times, the recharge capacity of 150 kilowatts allows the battery to go from 50 to 80% in 15 minutes.

A vehicle already put to the test

What is interesting with the RTX is that it is not a concept but rather a vehicle that has already undergone a battery of tests and is currently available for sale. Moreover, the city of Los Angeles in the United States has already had the opportunity to test the vehicle over a period of several months. For example, over an 18-week period, the vehicle responded to 1,222 emergency calls. Of this number, 131 calls concerned fires and 41 required the use of the pump. During this period, the RTX traveled 4,729 kilometers and operated for 912 hours.

It is all the more interesting to note that the energy backup system was only used for 16 hours, and that only 83 liters of fuel were used during these hours. According to the estimates obtained, no less than 6,515 liters of fuel were saved compared to a traditional vehicle during the 18 weeks. If we consider that the average price per liter of diesel was $2.38 at the time of writing these lines, the savings achieved would represent approximately $15,505.70.

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Of course, such a vehicle will not be given away. As an example, the Los Angeles Fire Department had been the first in 2020 to be able to place an order for the vehicle which had an initial price of US$900,000. However, the final configuration, as can be seen in the photos on the sidelines of the news, amounts to 1.2 million US dollars. At the current exchange rate, this represents approximately just over 1.6 million Canadian dollars.

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