More and more on the Way: Emergency Vehicles with Electric Drive
Electromobility is also gaining momentum in emergency response. In the run-up to INTERSCHUTZ, the "eLHF" project has already attracted international attention. In it, the Berlin Fire Department has been testing a fire truck from Rosenbauer since September 2020 that makes purely electric driving and utility operation possible. Its battery storage system supplies electricity for operational trips and the operation of all firefighting technology at the scene of the incident.9 Jun 2022
The presentation of the first all-electric turntable ladder - also from Rosenbauer - is also eagerly awaited. Schutz & Rettung Zürich, the largest civil rescue organization in Switzerland, is already the first lead customer for the test operation. The model will be presented to the international public for the first time at INTERSCHUTZ.
Electromobility among authorities and organizations with security tasks (BOS) - is this just short-term hype or a genuine future topic?
For Karsten Göwecke, the Permanent Representative of the Berlin State Fire Director, it is clear that electromobility will definitely advance among fire departments. He is responsible for the eLHF project and is convinced of the benefits of the technology. Göwecke recalls that the issue already existed among fire departments 120 years ago, when vehicles were electrically powered. "They only failed back then because there were no hybrid solutions yet, and the batteries weren't powerful enough. That meant disaster-proof operation wasn't possible. But that has since been solved." In the meantime, he said, the benefits could be sustained.
Often, he says, there is still some bias. "But then the fire experts look at the vehicle and realize that in many ways it's a better solution than a conventional emergency response fire truck. The electric drive is just one component, but it's a perfect fit for a better standard emergency vehicle," Göwecke added. Then, he adds, it is also recognized that not only the acquisition costs are decisive, but also the costs and the reliability over the service life. Above all, he praises the vehicle's faster propulsive power: "Unlike the diesel engine, the electric motor reaches full power immediately. Of course, that's especially important for firefighters and rescue services on what are often short emergency trips." This is another reason why Göwecke sees great potential for airport fire departments, for example, which are expected to reach any point on the premises within 120 seconds.
Together with the Austrian company Rosenbauer, Volvo Trucks will also be showing purely electric fire trucks at INTERSCHUTZ. "With the often low mileage per operation, Volvo's e-trucks with ranges of up to 300 kilometers are perfectly suited. We are proud to be able to present such vehicles at Interschutz 2022 together with the body specialists from Rosenbauer," says Peter Ström, Managing Director of Volvo Trucks in Germany. "They enable fire departments to drive into operations and save lives with zero emissions."
But electric drive is also on the rise for smaller emergency vehicles. One example is an emergency medical vehicle (NEF) based on the Mercedes eVito, which can be seen at Binz (Hall 26/A30).
Emergency vehicles with electric drive are also part of the exhibition portfolio at Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge (Hall 27/B38) and BMW (Hall 27/G36). At BMW, the vehicle in question is an X3, 3.0e. with hybrid drive.
In practice, rescue vehicles have already proven themselves many times over. These include, for example, an ambulance (RTW) of the German Red Cross (DRK) stationed on the island of Borkum. "The vehicle has been in trouble-free and reliable operation there every day for two years," reports Daniel Schulte, who headed the project. At INTERSCHUTZ, the RTW is taking a break on the island and can be seen at the DRK (Hall 26/G29).
Experts from users and industry agree that there is still a lot of need for development in emergency vehicles. But the eLHF is also well suited for flood operations, for example, thanks to its all-wheel drive and ground clearance that can be changed quickly during operation.
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