Yet another reason we want the Hilux in America.
Prospeed Motorsport in York, England, has developed a 6x6 Toyota Hilux (predecessor and global equivalent of the Toyota Tacoma) firetruck called the Hiload designed to fight EV fires. Its compact size was explicitly chosen to get its crew and equipment to locations where size can be a limit for regular firetrucks to gain entry.
It follows some high-profile fires in Europe, including one at Kings Dock car park in Liverpool and Stavanger Airport in Norway, where crews were forced to enter on foot with equipment. The result was fires that got out of control and grew quickly. Then there's the added risk of EV fires taking forever to extinguish safely, and given the prominence of EVs in modern society, first responders need to be properly equipped.
The 6x6 truck starts life as a Toyota Hilux but is fitted with a new chassis to increase its payload capacity to 6,613 pounds. The redesigned truck is longer, but it measures just 72 inches in height - lower than most large trucks and SUVs. Just as importantly, it features new technology to fight those fires when it gets there.
The lower center of gravity helps the 12,345-pound vehicle handle when it's in a hurry, and it's capable of carrying the latest technology developed to combat battery fires, which can require thousands of gallons of water or immersing the entire car in water for days to stop burning.
While the Hiload carries plenty of water, the ColdCut Cobra system can put out a fire in around 10 minutes using just over 60 gallons. That's incredible when you consider the average bathtub can contain 42 gallons of water.
The ColdCut Cobra system is a spectacular piece of kit that is based around an ultra-high pressure lance using 300 bar of pressure and an abrasive suspended in water to pierce a hole through floor pans and inject water into the vehicle.
The Cobra Ultra High Pressure Lance (UHPL) system uses an abrasive material suspension in water to create the hole and inject water into the battery module's casing. It cuts right to the heart of the fire to cool the battery and reduce the chances of a thermal runaway - similar in principle to the system Audi has developed to prevent EV battery fires.
The Hiload is currently being trialed in the Czech Republic, and Prospeed is working on a smaller 4x4 version for the military defense market.
Given enough time, we may see similar conversions all over the world.
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