The Peugeot H2O - An Environmentally Friendly Concept For Fire Fighting

Peugeot H20 Concept Car

The Peugeot fire engine christened H2O is two vehicles in one - a concept showing the effectiveness of fuel cell technology, and a vehicle for fire fighting which can be used for reconnaissance in areas within towns and cities which are difficult for large vehicles to access.

Fuel cell technology

The H2O is an electric vehicle with batteries, fitted with an auxiliary unit consisting of a fuel cell. The PSA Peugeot Citroen group first showed this technology in a Taxi PAC* demonstrator vehicle in June 2001. This latest concept has progressed the idea and is equipped with an auxiliary power unit which provides a continuous source of electrical energy to supply various emergency items of equipment such as the pumps, smoke extractors, communication systems, electric sockets, and so on.

For the fuel cell to work, it requires both hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen is drawn from the air, or when in smoky conditions from a back-up tank, whereas the hydrogen is manufactured on board the vehicle as and when it is required. This is done from an aqueous solution of sodium borohydride and a catalyser.

* PAC = pile à combustible, which is the French term for a fuel cell

Mixing hydrogen and oxygen causes an electrochemical reaction producing displacement of the electrons which simultaneously produces water, heat, and above all, electricity.The system is very environmentally friendly as the only waste product is water, with no other emissions or pollutants.

Technology

To allow the H2O to continue to operate in situations where visibility might be severely reduced due to smoke, the vehicle is fitted with proximity sensors in the bumpers and a radar system incorporated in the front panel.

Exterior

The stylish appearance of the Peugeot H2O belies the fact that it is a fully operational fire-fighting vehicle, equipped with suitable technological equipment. The vehicle was developed in consultation with fire-fighters.

The front of the vehicle looks typically Peugeot with its feline style front end. The rear of the passenger compartment is designed for two people, with a tank and telescopic ladder located across the top, as well as output sockets and connections appropriate to this type of fire fighting vehicle.

The headlights are similar to those on the RC concept cars, rectilinear in shape with the individual contours of the bonnet instantly recognisable. In addition to the main headlamps, driving lamps are positioned either side of the air intake, built in to the lower section of the front bumper. These extra lights provide greater illumination in difficult and smoke filled conditions.

The bonnet is short and steeply angled to merge into the windscreen. The chunky wheel arches exude power and strength and the doors curve round to where the tank is located at the back. The rear storage compartments are hidden by metal screens and on the left hand side there are two handles and steps for easy access to the top of the vehicle. Blue warning lights are positioned on the roof.

The cylindrical tank combines perfectly with the H2O style, and has an extending ladder made of light alloy. On the back is a smooth polished cover which bears the Peugeot lion logo.Except for the metal components, the H2O is painted in fire-engine red, and fitted with 18" light alloy wheels.

Interior

The fascia panel groups all the various controls together and just like the exterior it is red in colour with chrome finishing touches.At the centre of the top strip of the panel is a touch screen, telephone and GPS system. In front of the passenger is a second screen linked to a PC which displays maps of large buildings.

Between the two front seats are the handbrake and the switch for operating the ladder. The seats are finished in red Neoprene.On the door panels, metal frames are fitted with compartments to demonstrate how different firefighting equipment can be carried.

Key dimensions Peugeot H2O

Length 4.294m
Width 1.689m
Wheelbase 2.69m
Front/rear tracks 1.566m
Height 1.679m
Kerb weight 1,700kg

Published : 10/09/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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