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Rosenbauer Introduces New Firefighting Equipment For EV Battery Fires

Fire safety company Rosenbauer has developed new equipment for fighting fires in electric vehicles.

Rosenbauer specializes in firefighting equipment. It’s what it does. In conjunction with Volvo Penta, the company created some of the first battery-electric fire engines, which are currently being tested in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Dubai. There’s even one in the Antipodes!

Rosenbauer thinks about new firefighting techniques all the time. While EVs are no more at risk of fires than a conventional car, battery fires are different than gasoline fires and require specialized equipment to put them out effectively.

Battery fires tend to be significantly hotter than gasoline fires. Today, most fire departments just pump copious quantities of water onto a burning electric car. The problem is, batteries are encased in a protective housing that is designed to be waterproof. See the problem?

Rosenbauer has developed new equipment for dealing with that problem. It consists of two components — an extinguishing unit and an operating unit, connected by water hoses. Firefighters place the extinguishing unit between the battery and the road if the EV is still on its wheels or attach it to the outside of the vehicle near the battery if the car is on its side or upside down on its roof.

The device is controlled from about 25 feet away. When activated, the extinguishing unit drives a mandrel with a piercing lance into the battery with a force of several tons, then sends water through the lance to flood the interior of the battery with water. The unit can be left attached to the battery during transport. As long as there is a supply of water, more can be forced into the battery compartment in case of re-ignition.

Rosenbauer says it has tested the system with factory, professional, and voluntary fire departments in Europe, and on different battery designs including pouch, prismatic, and cylindrical cells with good results. The equipment is designed to integrate with current fire department training and tactics.

According to Ride Apart, Patrick Looss, head of Securitas Fire & Safety, says, “We were very pleased to be able to develop and test the extinguishing system together with Rosenbauer and to be able to contribute to the improvement and further development. The extinguishing system is one of the best and most innovative of its kind to curb the spread of a battery fire. The operation is very user-friendly and effective. From my point of view, the system is a must-have for every fire service.”

Image courtesy of Rosenbauer

We aren’t sure exactly how the device is placed if the battery is on fire or if the car is overturned. It must take a very brave person to get close enough to to burning vehicle to position it correctly. The system is available to order now, and deliveries begin next year.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?

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