Toyota Hilux derived firefighting truck to extinguish EV fires

LONDON: The British-built Hiload 6x6 firefighting truck, engineered by Prospeed Motorsport in York, England, was developed to tackle EV (electric vehicle) battery fires and assist with fast response occupant extraction.

Its engineering led approach uses a Toyota Hilux as a donor, fitted with an entirely new chassis to avoid a compromised ‘cut and shut’ of the original frame.

The Hiload 6x6 rapid intervention vehicle (RIV) has a unique ability to access underground and multi-storey car-parks, and it can carry crew, water and innovative fire extinguishing equipment to previously inaccessible locations.

With the replacement chassis and a torque splitter system, the 6x6 has rated 5,600kg gross vehicle weight (GVW), which offers 3,000kg payload.

That’s almost triple the standard 4x4 Hilux’s capacity, and the load-space is also extended by 1,230mm.


Although longer, the Hiload’s height is just 1,850mm - less than some large SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and low enough to allow access to the majority of parking structures. It also results in a lower centre of gravity and better stability in high-speed manoeuvres.

Among the other equipment which the increased payload helps carry, the Hiload can be fitted with the Coldcut Cobra system for extinguishing EV battery fires.

The Cobra Ultra High Pressure Lance (UHPL) system uses an abrasive suspended in water to pierce a hole through floor pans and inject water at 300bar – more than 100 times the pressure of the air in a typical car tyre – throughout the module casing.

This water cools directly inside the battery and thus prevents propagation and further possibility of a thermal runaway.

Unlike alternatives which involve pumping thousands of litres of water into the vehicle in an attempt to cool the whole battery, independent tests from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency showed the Coldcut Cobra system could prevent cell propagation within 10 minutes, using just 240 litres of water – that’s less than a bath-full and 20% of the Hiload’s tank capacity.


A unit is currently being trialled in the Czech Republic, and it is already part of one EV car manufacturer’s firefighting fleet.

Prospeed are also working in the defence market to offer a 4x4 Hiload with a 5,000kg GVW and a 6x6 Hiload with 6,500kg GVW as part of a light utility vehicle fleet, which will replace ageing Land Rover Defender and Pinzgauer fleets.

The company can ship the 6x6 conversion as a module for final assembly in an export market. The design can also be licenced for higher volume production.

Away from urban car park environments, the enhanced traction and reduced ground pressure resulting from a 6-wheel drive set-up can also prove invaluable for tackling fires in remote and challenging environments such as forests and heathland. The Hiload can get to these fires faster while carrying more crew, water and equipment into wild terrain.

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Autos Toyota