The Powerful Water Canon of Toyota Hilux 6×6 Fire Truck

A new 6X6 chassis and water jet fire suppression system make the HILOAD a fire department must-have for growing EV fires.

Electric car fires are a challenge for safety responders who have to fight fires at charge points located within parking garages in high-voltage battery packs that favor flame. One solution to the EV car fire challenge is the Toyota Hilux 6×6 HILOAD by Prospeed Motorsport.

If you don’t know what a Toyota Hilux is, that’s because they aren’t sold in the United States. It’s basically the Asia and Australia’s version of the Tacoma. Add a six-wheel chassis extension, and you’ve transformed this light-weight utility vehicle into a HILOAD.

The HILOAD has a maximized payload of 6,600 lbs (3,000 kg), which allows it to function as a fire truck with the clearance of a standard vehicle. It can reach the depths or heights of a normal parking garage.

Accessibility isn’t the only advantage of a HILOAD fire truck. It is also equipped to handle EV fires with its Coldcut Cobra fire suppression system. This system is designed to cuts into battery packs of electric vehicles to efficiently extinguish flames and prevent reignition.

The HILOAD doesn’t have the impressive size of a ladder truck. It does have the impressive fire fighting ability needed in settings where a standard fire truck would have limitations.

Most people don’t understand how electric vehicles catch fire or why it’s a big deal. Electric car fires are especially dangerous because of the risk of shock and thermal runaway.

Shock risk comes from potential contact with the high-voltage components in the lithium-ion battery. Normally, the electricity is isolated from the EV’s chassis. If a collision damages the protective features of a battery pack, it can electrify the car with enough energy to cause injury or death.

Thermal runaway is a chain reaction in the cells of the battery. One cell heats another, and so on, until the fire spreads or an explosion occurs. This can also produce toxic gases.

Extinguishing an EV fire may take thousands of gallons of water. Some firefighters have taken entire vehicles and submerged them in water to make sure the fire was out.

The HILOAD Coldcut Cobra fire suppression system is an ultra-high pressure lance (UHPL). It shoots water and corrosive material at high pressure to cut and drench at the same time.

Firefighters armed with UHPLs can cut into buildings, cars, and battery packs with their extinguisher that is half fire hose and half water jet. Some people say a blazing Tesla is more dangerous than a house fire, and the UHPL mitigates the danger.

Instead of thousands of gallons of water, the Coldcut Cobra system needs only 60 gallons of water. It doesn’t take days to watch for reignition from thermal runaway or stranded energy. It puts out the fire within the battery, so the risk is gone. Gas vehicles are more prone to catching fire than EVs, but EV fires are a unique hazard.

Lorne Stoddart, developer at Prospeed, said he was actually looking at the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series when trying to find a lightweight utility vehicle to beef-up into the HILOAD. However, the Hilux was a good option for European homologation. Any cab configuration could theoretically handle the conversion because it involves a completely new chassis.

The HILOAD’s chassis is 10 percent heavier than the original Toyota Hilux, and its suspension is 20 to 30 percent stiffer. This allows it to carry heavier loads. The additional axle at the rear splits the weight load. This reduces the pressure on the ground and increases off-road capabilities.

The height of the HILOAD is significantly shorter than other fire fighting vehicles and only needs 75 inches (90 cm) of ground clearance. However, the vehicle is 48 inches longer than a standard Hilux.

Multiple Applications For The HILOAD Beyond Fire FightingHILOAD fire truck conversion

The HILOAD is sure to enhance the jobs of firefighters in Europe and possibly around the world once conversions are made available for other vehicle types. Prospeed isn’t limiting its 6X6 pickup’s application to fire fighting and has extensive plans for its lightweight vehicle with maximized carrying ability.

Potential uses for the HILOAD include cable laying, ammunition and military troop transport, underground mining, and winter road work. The HILOAD removes commercial vehicle hindrances such as size and maneuverability and stands as a truly beneficial vehicle with very few, if any, negative attributes.

The 6X6 HILOAD takes a standard lightweight pickup and transforms it into a vehicle capable of handling real-life situations that require heavy carrying capacity in tight spaces. There’s no room for big rigs in many types of emergencies, and HILOAD is a response to this limited space.

The Toyota Hilux is popular for its reliability and versatility. It is a fun and capable off roader. The HILOAD is likely to be popular for commercial, public, and military use for the same reasons. As for putting out fires, the HILOAD is equipped with the best equipment for EV fire suppression, and just as importantly, it will be able to get to the fire.

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