In recent weeks, Rosenbauer has built the first RTX for the North American fire services market. The vehicle is intended for the Los Angeles City Fire Department and was developed jointly with the LAFD. The ‘core DNA’ is identical to the RT according to the European standard, while the technical design complies with the American NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) regulations.
The RTX incorporates the technological know-how of ten years of development work in the Rosenbauer Group. The result is more than an ‘electrified fire engine’. It is the blueprint for the municipal firefighting vehicle of the future: a vehicle from a single source, functional and robust, with a highly ergonomic vehicle architecture, an unprecedented level of safety for the crew and an innovative operating concept with comprehensive connectivity. Safety, dynamics, performance: the RTX combines everything that counts in a firefighting vehicle into one functional unit.
Unrivalled driving characteristics
What particularly distinguishes the RTX is its stable handling and high driving safety. It has a low-floor chassis with a core tube frame in which one of the two high-voltage batteries is installed, which results in a much lower centre of gravity compared with firefighting vehicles on truck chassis. Single-wheel suspension and switchable rear-axle steering ensure excellent manoeuvrability, and the RTX can even move in crab steering. The air-suspended chassis allows the driving levels to be adjusted to the ground (on-road and off-road driving, watt mode, operation site mode), and due to the compact dimensions (L x W = approx. 8.25 x 2.35m) the vehicle can be piloted more easily through narrow alleys and heavy traffic. Modern assistance systems such as ADM (Automatic Drivetrain Management) and EBS (Electronic Braking System) support the driver.
The driving dynamics of the RTX result primarily from the electric drive concept: two electric motors with an output of 2 x 180kW (peak) or 2 x 130kW (continuous) drive all four wheels (permanent four-wheel drive). They are supplied with power from two high-voltage batteries with an electrical storage capacity of 132kWh, which also provide the energy for pump operation and other consumers at the operation site.
In addition, the RTX has a range extender (diesel engine with power generator) with an output of 225kW as standard, which is installed in the body to save space. This turns the RTX into an integrated power plant that automatically recharges the high-voltage batteries when more energy is consumed than is stored in them.
Health and safety
The integrated design of the RTX cab provides a high level of passive safety during the journey. Thanks to the air-suspension chassis, the vehicle can be lowered at the operational site (175mm above ground) to the extent that the crew cab can be accessed without barriers and the equipment stored in the vehicle can be removed while firmly standing on the ground. The shadowless LED scene lighting and the underfloor lighting increase safety around the vehicle.
In addition, the RTX reduces exposure of the emergency crews to pollutants to a minimum. Even on the journey to the scene of the emergency, they travel virtually emission-free and are also exposed to fewer pollutants and less noise at the operation site than before, because the majority of all technical and brief firefighting operations can be carried out purely electrically.
Modern command post
In the RTX, the driver’s cab and crew cab merge to form a modern command centre where operational meetings can be held in a quiet atmosphere, protected from wind and weather. For this purpose, the driver and front passenger turn their seats inwards and face the crew members directly, who sit on the sides of the vehicle facing each other and on the rear wall of the cab facing forwards.
All functions of the vehicle, from lighting to firefighting equipment, can be controlled via a 17in display centrally installed in the control panel. In addition, the vehicle sets up its own Wi-Fi network, which can be used to wirelessly control robots, drones and other electrical equipment.
Operations on Hollywood Boulevard
The RTX for the Los Angeles City Fire Department presents itself with a clear, consistent design line and branded front section. In April, the vehicle will be on display at the US FDIC fire show in Indianapolis, IN, after which it will be transferred to Los Angeles. There, after extensive training and test operations at Fire Station 82 on Hollywood Boulevard, it will enter regular service.
Andreas Zeller, CSO of Rosenbauer International AG, said: ‘We are pleased that we were able to develop the RTX for the USA together with the Los Angeles City Fire Department, and that it will soon be able to demonstrate its capabilities in everyday firefighting situations. We also expect this to provide a strong impetus for sales, as many other US firefighting organizations that have already shown interest in the vehicle are currently looking eagerly to LA and want to take the initial practical experience with the RTX into account when making their purchase decision.’
Richard Fields, Assistant Chief Los Angeles City Fire Department, added: ‘We were at Rosenbauer headquarters in Austria at the beginning of February for the acceptance test of our vehicle and had the opportunity to get to know it better, to drive it, and to test all of its functions. We were particularly impressed by the driving characteristics and ride comfort of the RTX, but the operating and control concept is also absolutely state-of-the-art. It’s a vehicle that we’re sure to enjoy, that has everything we need for our routine operations, and with which we’re making a contribution to climate protection to boot.’
For more information, go to www.rosenbauer.com