UK’s first all-electric ambulance hits the roads

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

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now the editor of our three commercial vehicle titles: The Van Expert, The Truck Expert and Commercial Vehicle Engineer.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

Latest articles

Ford updates Transit Connect with greater payload

Ford has announced updates to its Transit Connect, offering greater payload than previously.

Theft from vans costing tradespeople £264 million a year

Tool theft from vans costs trade professionals £264 million a year and can put them out of work for 30 days at a time on average, a new study has found.

Loophole over mobile phone use while driving set to be closed

A loophole that allows drivers to escape punishment for hand-held phone use will be closed under plans announced by the Government.

New diesel engine added to Citroën SpaceTourer range

Citroen’s SpaceTourer MPV range has been bolstered with the introduction of an efficient new diesel engine to replace two previous units.

Dramatic shift to electric power predicted for van operators

A “dramatic shift” to electric power will soon be underway for UK businesses that operate vans, according to new research.

Amazon launches first custom electric delivery vehicle

Amazon has unveiled its first custom electric delivery vehicle, designed and built in partnership with Rivian, which is plans to have on the road in 2022.