Electric ambulance for Birmingham said to be UK first01 October 2020

Commercial vehicle converter VCS has launched what it calls the country’s first all-electric ambulance to be used in front-line service.

The Electric Dual Crewed Ambulance (E-DCA) is the UK’s first electric ambulance and the first zero emissions ambulance to be used on UK roads.

Designed, developed and produced in Bradford, West Yorkshire, the E-DCA will be trialled by West Midlands Ambulance Service starting in October. “Given we operate in a clean air zone like Birmingham, this is a sensible and advantageous step forward for so many reasons,” says Anthony Marsh, chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust.

Using VCS’s lightweight ‘Core Capture’ construction method, the E-DCA employs zero emissions powertrain technology developed and proven within parent company the Woodall Nicholson Group.

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 75 mph 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 EDCA includes a number of design elements and features that ensure it is as versatile and usable as possible. These include VCS’s unique rear door damp assist system (DAS), hospital chair gangway accessibility, intelligent run lock management and an OLED graphical HMI keypad.

Mark Kerrigan, managing director at VCS, 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.”

William Dalrymple

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