The first all-electric zero emissions ambulance to be used in frontline services in the UK has hit the roads in the West Midlands.
The Electric Dual Crewed Ambulance (E-DCA), designed, developed and produced by ambulance conversion specialist VCS, is now being trialled by West Midlands Ambulance Service. The E-DCA will be used on the service’s frontline in emergency situations.
Its development by VCS reflects emergency services operators’ desire to bring the sector in-line with the global demand for zero emission transport.
Using VCS’ lightweight ‘Core Capture’ construction method, the E-DCA employs zero emissions powertrain technology developed and proven within the Woodall Nicholson Group – VCS’ parent company.
Powered by lithium-ion batteries situated in the underside of the ambulance floor pan in a specifically designed and compliant enclosure, and a low centre of gravity, the E-DCA has a power output of 129bhp (96kW). It has a top speed of 75mph and can achieve a range of 105-110 miles with a recharge time of 4.25 hours.
Designed within the Lord Carter Report National Specification, the E-DCA includes various design elements and features including VCS’ rear door damp assist system, hospital chair gang way accessibility, intelligent run lock management and an OLED graphical HMI keypad.
Mark Kerrigan, VCS’ managing director, said: “As the world moves away from fossil fuels and towards a zero-carbon future, it’s important that the emergency services sector keeps pace. The vehicle launched today [1 October] is a strong first step on the path to electrification and we’re confident that by working with outstanding operators, such as West Midlands Ambulance Service, we can continue to innovate and improve our zero emissions offering.”
Anthony Marsh, chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust, which developed the ambulance along with VCS, said: “By using aircraft assembly techniques during the construction of our ambulances, we have created the most hi-tech and lightest ambulances in the country which reduces our impact on the environment by reducing CO2 levels and ensures that patients receive the highest standards of safety and comfort.
“It is therefore a logical next step for us to be the first ambulance service in the country to introduce a fully electric ambulance.
“We are delighted to be working with VCS to develop and trial the technology to run an emergency ambulance that will have zero emissions. Given we operate in a clean air zone like Birmingham, this is a sensible and advantageous step forward for so many reasons.
“We look forward to working with our staff to integrate the vehicle into frontline operations, while using it as a test bed to develop even more advanced vehicles.”
You can read more on the electric ambulance in the November issue of Commercial Vehicle Engineer – published on October 28. To read the October issue, click here