When the small Stromer goes out, it shows its true greatness: The Opel Rocks-e stops in the spacious production hall, Mario Spiga and Peter Strohmeier get out and inspect the fire extinguishers. A precise check, a short note, then they move on to the next hall. A routine control, no big deal. But one that has to be done. The employees of the Rüsselsheim plant fire brigade have recently started to carry out this kind of check and other inspection trips with the compact light vehicle. And there are good reasons for that.
“With the manoeuvrable Rocks-e, we are emission-free on the move and can comfortably get into every corner of the site,” says Spiga. “After all, the terrain is 1.9 square kilometres in size,” adds Strohmeier. Instead of parking the vehicle in front of the door and walking the rest of the way in the spacious halls, as was previously the case, the employees rely on the smallest Stromer with flash. Thanks to its electric drive, it can also be driven in the halls, unlike vehicles with combustion engines. “That’s practical – and above all saves a lot of time,” says Peter Strohmeier. The employee of the plant fire brigade is particularly proud of the unique vehicle. He was largely responsible for the development of the conversion of the City Stromer into an emergency vehicle.
“With the Rocks-e, we can get to all corners of the plant site comfortably and emission-free.”
– Peter Strohmeier –
And so, although the compact Stromer is just 2.41 metres long, it is equipped with everything it needs for operations. There is plenty of space under the passenger seat and in the floor space for the toolbox and other materials. In other respects, too, the new addition to the fleet clearly identifies itself as a fire fighter: It has a fire-red livery and is equipped with a special signalling system, front flasher and emergency numbers – a unique model, created with the help of colleagues from the advance development department and the OSV workshop. Thus equipped, Spiga and Strohmeier are quickly back at the fire station. There is plenty to do.
In use against Corona
Outside the plant’s boundaries, the Corona hygiene regulations may have been relaxed in the meantime, but inside, the pandemic continues to keep not only the plant fire brigade on its toes. The team is responsible for ensuring that masks, disinfectants and rapid tests are always available to all employees at the designated distribution points. “The fact that we haven’t had a corona hotspot in the past two years is partly thanks to us,” Okay Kocak, head of the Rüsselsheim plant fire brigade, is convinced. To keep it that way, the little Rocks-e is permanently on the road to refill the supply stations.
For fire and hazard protection, but also for the safety of employees and the protection of the environment, 70 plant fire brigade members are on duty in Rüsselsheim. During normal operations, they complete around 1,000 missions every year. Since 2021, the company has been training its own firefighters. The team also continues to improve its qualifications. Hakan Ünvanli and Mohamed Ajaoun have now completed their two-year training as fire inspectors, the official qualification for the „higher fire service“. This means that Okay Kocak now has one more possible shift supervisor and one more deputy at his side.
The small electric vehicle is also used to check so-called “hot work” such as welding, soldering and flexing in the factory. The employees regularly get into the light vehicle to check whether all fire safety regulations are met on the extensive site – before, during and after the “hot work”. After just a few weeks on duty, the Rocks-e turns out to be indispensable. “When Corporate Communications published the first photos, it was clear to us that we could really use one of these,” says Okay Kocak. The parameters of the two-seater, which 15-year-olds with an AM driving licence are already allowed to drive, are perfect for the operations on the factory premises.
Even faster than permitted
75 kilometres of range are absolutely sufficient. “And the 45 km/h top speed is even a few too many – after all, only 30 km/h are allowed on the factory premises,” says Okay Kocak, describing the advantages of the new comrade. The charging cable is always on board and ready for any normal plug socket. After just four hours, the electric vehicle is fully charged again. “The colleagues love being on the move in the first electric vehicle in our fleet. The Rocks-e is not only practical and comfortable – it’s simply fun to drive!”