Wednesday 26 April 2023

Rally - Thunderbirds are go

Prospeed Motorsport near York is an engineering company which specialises in off-road vehicles for work, leisure and motor sport. Their latest creation will appeal to firefighters, particularly those who have to deal with incidents in city centres and towns.

It has two big advantages over current fire fighting vehicles. It can access multi-story car parks despite the height restrictions and it carries the ‘Coldcut Cobra’ system for extinguishing EV battery fires.


It’s not that electric vehicles are more prone to catching fire than their petrol or diesel siblings, in fact according to statistics they are less likely to catch fire, and if they do the battery pack is harder to ignite than a petrol fuel tank.

Following two serious car fires in Liverpool and Stavanger the subsequent investigations highlighted the risks. At the Kings Dock Car Park at in Liverpool six years ago, the resulting blaze led to the loss of approximately 1,150 vehicles and severely damaged the structural fabric of the building. More recently a similar incident in Norway destroyed hundreds of vehicles and led to the partial collapse of the multi-story building.

Of particular concern in this case was the fact the Norway has a high proportion of electric vehicles although the fire initially ignited in a turbo diesel car. Another factor which the investigations highlighted is the fact that modern cars are wider than previous models and yet car parking bay marking lines are pretty much the same. This means that vehicles are closer together when parked these days thus allowing any fire to spread more easily!


Dealing with EV fires is bad enough but dealing with exploding fuel tanks can be just as dangerous, perhaps more so as ignited fuel can run along the ground and get into drainage systems thereby spreading the risk.


This is where Prospeed came in. They have built a Rapid Intervention Vehicle on their Toyota HiLoad 6x6 chassis. Getting quickly to the heart of the fire in such circumstances can be essential as standard fire appliances cannot access such buildings. Most times they have to fight the conflagrations from outside the building while the six wheel drive can drag any handbraked and parked cars clear of the fire and cope with any rough terrain in the rural hinterland if the need arises.


So what’s the point of this FB post? No point really – I just wanted to make all the rally rescue and recovery crews rage with lust at the sight of this impressive bit of kit. Hee, Hee.


Naturally, no price was published. You’ll just have to phone and ask, but keep the smelling salts handy!

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