Press release, September 23, 2020

Revolutionary in every way

Rosenbauer puts the future of the firefighting vehicle on the road with the RT

  • First hybrid tank firefighting vehicle, with groundbreaking new features
  • Fully electric drive, revolutionary vehicle architecture, digital operation and full connectivity
  • Range extender as secondary power unit, power supply for the drafting point via the built-in high-voltage batteries

Rosenbauer has spent three years working on the development of the Revolutionary Technology (RT), and now the first customer vehicles from the pilot series are ready for delivery. The hybrid tank firefighting vehicles are far ahead of modern standard vehicles in terms of their operational tactical benefits, loading options and firefighting equipment, and are revolutionary in every respect. With the RT, Rosenbauer is not launching a further development of an existing vehicle concept on to the market, but has instead come up with a completely new concept and innovative implementation of the firefighting vehicle. The drive technology, vehicle architecture, operability and connectivity in particular are revolutionary, making the RT ideal for the everyday tasks of the fire department of the future.

Revolutionary driving characteristics
One of the many features that distinguish the RT is its unparalleled driving dynamics. Two electric motors generate a total output of up to 360 kW (490 HP) and impart a propulsion and an acceleration to the RT only comparable to airport rescue and fire-fighting vehicles with 1,000 HP engines. A two-speed gearbox ensures that the full torque is available even when starting off on hills, and that there is enough traction for steep gradients.

Its stable driving behavior and the resulting driving safety are also unrivaled. The RT has a low-floor chassis with a tubular frame between the two axles, in which a traction battery weighing around 550 kg is installed. This results in a much lower center of gravity than that of firefighting vehicles built on truck chassis, and keeps the RT safely on the road, even during rapid cornering.

First and foremost, the RT owes its high maneuverability to the independent wheel suspension developed especially for this vehicle. This allows a practical combination of the requirements in terms of suspension, steering angle and all-wheel drive. The independent wheel suspension enables a significantly larger steering angle and thus a smaller turning radius compared to conventional vehicles with all-wheel drive. It also offers better ride comfort and driving dynamics compared to a rigid axle. On the RT with the shortest wheelbase (3,800 mm), the turning circle diameter is approx. 15.00 m, and with rear axle steering activated this is reduced to just 12.50 m. This optimizes maneuverability in narrow alleys and enables precise maneuvering in so-called crab steering (diagonal steering) mode.

Especially in urban areas, when overtaking flowing traffic and in fast bends with tight curve radii, and when driving on narrow roads as well as under low passages, the RT is clearly superior to classic emergency vehicles, with a total weight of just 18 tons. This is not just a result of its agility and maneuverability, but also its compact dimensions. The RT is only 2.35 m wide and 7.30 m long with a wheelbase of 3,800 mm. It is also available with wheelbases of 4,100 mm and 4,400 mm, and the vehicle height is 2.90 m at lowered ride level (without attachments and superstructures).

Revolutionary ergonomics
Another special feature of the RT is its air-sprung chassis with selectable ride levels. This allows the underaxle clearance to be adapted to the terrain or situation when driving: the distance can be set to 250 mm for road travel, 350 mm for travel through rough terrain, and 470 mm for crossing flooded roads (Watt mode). On the other hand, the chassis allows the RT to be lowered to an underaxle clearance of 175 mm at the drafting point, in order to reduce the entry height of the cab to a minimum. This allows the crew cab to be entered safely and comfortably at a fast pace, and eliminates a potential risk of injury, as there is no need to climb stairs as with conventional vehicles of this size.

In addition, the requirement for traditional hinged steps becomes obsolete, as the maximum loading height is reduced to just over two meters when the vehicle is lowered. This allows equipment to be removed from the equipment compartments at ground level, even those installed at the top, and is a noticeable relief of the workload, especially for emergency personnel who have to lift heavy equipment from the vehicle and stow it away again on a daily basis. Manual and electric lowering devices are also available, for example for the extension ladder on the roof.

Essentially, the entire vehicle architecture of the RT is designed with ergonomics in mind. This applies not only to the operating heights of the seven spacious equipment compartments - one of which is located at the rear - but also to the walk-through crew cab with its generous headroom when entering and exiting, as well as when sitting down. In addition, thanks to new high-performance LED strips in the roof gallery, the RT generates optimum, shadowless working light around the vehicle, and all functions can be operated intuitively. The operating concept includes, for example, customizable emergency buttons that activate several functions at the touch of a button. 

Revolutionary operation
This is the future of firefighting operations - and the RT anticipates this: all functions of the emergency vehicle, from lighting to firefighting equipment, are controlled digitally; all threads of the operation come together in the vehicle as a command center.

Of course, there are still conventional switches and buttons in the RT, but these are predominantly operated via a central touch screen. The 17" display is installed in the center of the control panel, which can be conveniently operated by the commander in the passenger seat and can be viewed from any seat in the crew cab. There is an additional control panel for the pump situated at the rear of the vehicle. Furthermore, many operationally-relevant functions can also be viewed and operated from outside the vehicle using mobile devices (Rosenbauer EMEREC tablet).

Full connectivity is provided by independent, secure W-LAN, which is installed in the RT itself. Via the Rosenbauer Vehicle Management System, vehicle position, operation and condition can be checked at any time; the RT can also be incorporated into an over-arching Fleet Management System. With the EMEREC operations management and information system, the RT becomes the central communications hub, and can also be used for the wireless control of robots, drones and sensor systems.

The cockpit as command center
The cabin layout and the conference seating arrangement support the function of the RT as a localized operations center. The driver's cab and crew cab are not spatially partitioned by a wall, but instead form a single unit. The seats of driver and commander can be turned 90° sideways to face the interior, up to four emergency personnel can sit at the sides of the vehicle above the wheel housing of the front axle facing one another, and up to three more can sit over the tailboard of the cab facing forward. This enables unprecedented interaction and communication in the vehicle, allowing briefings to be held shielded from wind and increment weather, in peace and quiet and with all relevant data available on the central display (building plans, camera images, digital maps, supply situation, etc.).

Safe journey, minimal emission of pollutants
The integral design of the RT cab ensures a high level of passive safety in the event of an accident. The RT's driver is supported by a large number of assistance systems that help avoid accidents in difficult situations. These include electronic exterior mirrors with a significantly enlarged field of vision to eliminate blind spots. The RT's curved lights improve identification by pedestrians when turning, while an integrated rear camera provides full visibility to the rear. 

With the RT, fire departments can travel to the scene of the emergency by fully electric means, thus eliminating local emissions. In addition, recuperation via the electric motors reduces brake wear and thus the creation of fine dust particles. This is a great advantage for people and the environment, especially in urban areas with a large number of emergency journeys and high traffic volumes. At the drafting point, in turn, exhaust emissions and noise levels are reduced because the energy for lighting and technical equipment comes from high-voltage energy storage systems. This improves the working conditions around the vehicle, reduces the stress levels of the emergency crews and, last but not least, benefits the local residents.

The Rosenbauer hybrid system
The RT is equipped with one, or optionally two, high-voltage battery storage units, each with a capacity of 50 kWh, which not only feed the traction drive but also provide electrical energy at the drafting point. Several external devices, such as fans or submersible pumps, with a total power consumption of up to 18 kW can be operated simultaneously via the power outlet. The extinguishing water pump can be operated either electrically by means of a generator or by the range extender (diesel engine). For shorter fire-fighting operations, the energy of the RT in the 100 kWh version is sufficient. For longer operations, the range extender is employed, which consists of a six-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 200 kW (272 HP) and a power generator. With this tandem, the RT becomes a fully integrated power plant that is able to automatically recharge its batteries when more energy is consumed than they store. As a result, the RT achieves operating times above the specifications of EN 1846.

External charging of the RT's batteries can be carried out either by means of alternating current from standard industrial power sockets or using suitable direct current charging stations. With a full charging capacity of 150 kW, just a quarter of an hour is sufficient to raise the charge level of both high-voltage batteries (100 kWh) from 50% to 80%. 

More than just a firefighting vehicle
The RT is a fully-fledged tank firefighting vehicle, its firefighting equipment leaves nothing to be desired: the Rosenbauer built-in N/NH25 (2,500 l/min at 10 bar, 400 l/min at 40 bar) and N/NH35 (3,500 l/min at 10 bar, 400 l/min at 40 bar) pumps can be installed and combined with an around-the-pump foam proportioning system or a direct injection proportioning system. The vehicle can be equipped with water tanks between 1,000 l and 4,000 l, and foam tanks from to 50 l up to 400 l. The central water feed is located at the rear, the pressure outlets in both rear full height lockers 5 and 6, and also optionally at the front and on the roof. The Rosenbauer RM15 turret (as a bumper and roof turret) or RM35 turret (as a roof turret) can be connected to these outlets.

The RT is also suitable as a supply/crew transporter and perfect as a command vehicle, because it can be equipped with a drone, for example, to provide an aerial perspective for reconnaissance and mission monitoring via the EMEREC operations management system. This not only proves its versatility, but also that it is more than just state-of-the-art: the RT is the future.

NOTE on MEDIA MATERIAL: from September 24, 2020 more pictures of the RT will be available for download here!

In connection with this press release, the following media material is at your disposal:
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