UK-based Prospeed Motorsport has developed a new firefighting vehicle called the HILOAD 6×6 Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV) to address the increased risk of battery fires with the rise of electrified vehicles on the road.
Although EVs are less likely to catch fire than traditional cars given the lack of an easily combustible liquid fuel source, when they do, they are considerably more difficult to extinguish due to the energy within the cells, which causes a thermal runaway that, in some cases, cannot be smothered or merely starved.
The most effective way to reliably snuff out an EV on fire, particularly if the flame stems from its battery, is to literally drop it in a pool of water big enough to envelope the entire car. Unfortunately, that’s a little hard to come by.
However, if the fire occurs in an enclosed space like a multi-story car park, the fire can be more severe, and large fire trucks cannot be used due to their size. This one happens to be well under the height limit at 1,850mm tall.
Here’s where the HILOAD 6×6 RIV comes into its own. This firefighting beast is based on a Toyota HiLux, albeit one that’s been extensively modified. Don’t worry, we won’t blame you if you couldn’t tell at first glance.
Designed and developed by Prospeed Motorsport, this 6-wheeled truck can carry three times the weight of a standard Hilux and has better stability in high-speed situations due to its lowered centre of gravity.
The load space was increased to make room for necessary equipment, and the vehicle is equipped with the Coldcut Cobra system, which can stop thermal runaway in its tracks with only 240 litres of water.
Cobra’s UHPL system, which is a high-pressure lance, uses an abrasive substance that is mixed with water to pierce through the floor pans and inject water through the module casing of the battery at a pressure of 300 bar, which is a hundred times greater than the pressure of air in a car tyre. This water can then cool down the inside of the battery and bring the process of thermal runaway to an immediate halt.
The HILOAD is being trialed in the Czech Republic to tackle EV battery fires and assist with fast response occupant extraction. The 6×6 vehicle has a wide range of potential uses, including commercial, defense, and Special Forces applications.
Prospeed Motorsport assembles the HILOAD in the UK, but the 6×6 conversion can be shipped as a module for assembly in an export market, and the design can be licensed for higher volume production.
Hmm…a firefighter-tested 6×6 conversion. Sounds like the perfect mod kit to bring in for the Malaysian market!