Tatra is highly appreciated for its solid and rugged trucks. While there are a lot of fire trucks out there, there aren’t many models that can stack up with confidence against the 815 model build by Tata.
The most important weapon needed in firefighting operations, is without a doubt the water tender truck. The volume of water that can be carried by a fire truck could make the difference between a few pieces of burned wood or a full scale inferno and at this part Tatra’s truck receives high marks being able to transport up to 9000 l of water.
The Tatra T 815 water tender is built by THT, s.r.o. Polička, a leading Central European specialist in firefighting vehicles. Using the newest Tatra chassis, the fire truck it is designed to transport large quantities of extinguishing agents and 1+3 firefighting crew.
The truck is based on the TATRA T 815-731R32/411chassis and features a cab forward configuration with a robust and pretty rudimentary design.
At the front we’ll find the central mounted company logo and a big windscreen split in two rectangular sections which are easy to replace in case of a partial damage.
The vehicle features a modern fire superstructure featuring an aluminum profile frame and aluminum plating. The tanker can transport up to 9,000 l of water and 540 l of foam compound which is pretty impressive. Moreover, it can operate at low water pressure (3,000 l/min at 1.0 MPa) or high water pressure (300 l/min at 4.0 MPa).
The TATRA 815 fire truck offers the possibility to mount various superstructures without the need for an auxiliary interframe.
Thanks to this feature the water tender has a low center of gravity and the overall height is kept to a pretty low level as well. This results in excellent handling and riding characteristics on rough terrain and also eliminates the need for platforms to get in and out of the vehicle and thus the downtime of the firefighting crew when going into action.
The interior is pretty practical and offers acres of space permitting you to move free around the cabin. The dashboard is slightly angled towards the driver facilitating easy access to the various controls fitted into the center console.
The steering wheel can be adjusted for both reach and rake, so it won’t be hard to find a proper driving position. On the other hand, the steering wheel is a bit thin and could’ve come with a better grip.
Fortunately, the seats are pretty comfortable, given the utilitarian nature of the vehicle. They are also offered with various adjustments to help you get cozy behind the steering wheel. The seats configuration is 1+3 and all passengers have plenty of head and legroom without feeling uncomfortable.
Thanks to the high ground clearance and the wide windscreen, the driver gets a nice, commanding view of the road. The lateral mirrors are also fairly big and won’t let you down in any situations.
The cab is fitted with all sorts of cubby holes, and different consoles so there are plenty of places to store different things.
Overall the cabin is very practical and perfectly suits the utilitarian character of the truck but it lacks any refinement as it’s rather spartan than comfortable. The materials are part of the solid class but the fittings look lasting.
Engines and transmissions
The Tatra 815 Firetruck is equipped with Euro 5 V8 diesel engine which offers a maximum output of 280 kw and 1800 Nm achieved from as low as 1000 rpm. The powerful, direct air-cooled TATRA engine provides this 25-t vehicle with a great specific performance of 13 kW per ton scoring a top speed of 110 kmph.
Thanks to the strong engine, the truck can deal with a maximum payload of 9495 kg with ease and offers plenty of punch even on sloped terrains. The huge torque is also worth to be mentioned, as it offers continuous grip regardless of the terrain conditions.
The engine is bolted on the semi-automatic TATRA-NORGREN gear shift system which sends power to all four wheels offering a pretty comfortable drive. The transmission is also fairy smooth and requires minimum manual interventions being at par with competition.
Tatra 815 Fire truck Engines specifications
|Engine emission norms||kw@rpm||Nm@rpm|
|Euro 5||280 @1800||1800@1000|
Ride and handling
Thanks to the relatively low ground clearance and the small height (only 2.85), the truck stays planted on its wheels and there is very little body roll to worry about. For outstanding off abilities, the truck’s chassis uses a backbone frame, independent and pneumatically suspended half-axles.
Moreover, the standard air suspension system on all semi-axles allows for very simple adjustments of the basic ground clearance (360 mm) by up to +90/-120 mm, by means of a convenient 3-position button.
The truck has also other aces hidden in its sleeve and features a central tire-inflation system that allows firefighters to increase or decrease pressure in the tires on the go. For instance, on the highway, for is needed a high pressure, but on soft, sandy terrain it’s needed a lower pressure for a better grip.
Tatra ’s T 815 Firetruck is one of the best utility vehicles available on today’s market. It’s weakest point however is the cab’s ergonomy which could’ve come with a better comfort. Though, this is a very small disadvantage which will be shortly forgotten after you’ll fire the engine and go to attack some difficult terrains.
Thanks to the strong Tatra genes, the truck has an unstoppable character and can roll over any terrains without breaking a sweat. The suspensions and the heavy duty axles are a real gem and can deal effortless with any road or off road conditions.
Even if it’s not as smooth as other units in the segment, the engine is also pretty capable and offers adequate fuel consumption.