Friday, October 26, 2012

Renault Twizy EV goes firefighting

When Renault showed the two-seat Twizy electric city car at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, we never expected to see it haul firefighters – meter maids, maybe, but not firefighters. The vehicle is about as far from a fire truck as you can get while still discussing motorized vehicles. That hasn't stopped the French company from outfitting its diminutive electric car for the purpose of firefighting.

Renault and its vehicle conversion subsidiary Renault Tech worked closely with the Paris firefighter brigade to create this response-ready prototype. Envisioned as a complement to, not a replacement for, more traditional fire trucks, the prototype is designed as an early response vehicle, with the anticipation that actual fire trucks with water, hoses and gear will be close behind. For that purpose, Renault ripped out the rear seat and replaced it with a storage trunk to house emergency response equipment including two fire extinguishers, two oxygen tanks, a fire suit and helmet, and a first aid kit.

From next month, Paris firefighters will begin an eight-month test of the Twizy prototype before a decision is made about a more permanent fleet of light electric vehicles.

Source: Gizmag & Renault

Renault Press Release:

The Twizy prototype was co-developed by Renault, Renault Tech, the company’s vehicle conversion subsidiary, and the Paris firefighter brigade. The special model was designed for early interventions ahead of the arrival of more consequential lifesaving equipment.

The rear seat has been replaced by a trunk used to store emergency response equipment, i.e. two fire extinguishers, two oxygen tanks, a fire suit, a helmet and a first-aid kit.

Tests of the prototype will begin in November for an eight-month period, the aim being to use Twizy as a support vehicle in Paris and its immediate suburbs and when setting up temporary safety installations (for major public events, July 14, New Year’s Eve, etc.). The Paris firefighter brigade is reviewing the long-term possibility of setting up a fleet of light electric vehicles, for more efficiency and environmental respect.

For Claire Petit Boulanger, tertiary safety officer at Renault, “This initial prototype is real-life proof of the research and development work carried out together with the emergency services, demonstrating Renault’s ability and determination to innovate to meet the needs of firefighters.”

Renault and the French national firefighter association, FNSPF, signed a partnership agreement on June 21, 2012 to step up their collaborative efforts in fields including technical cooperation and donating vehicles to firefighters for vehicle-extrication training.

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