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Are Emergency Vehicles Going Electric?

The UK has committed to being Net Zero by 2050. With this comes a whole host of bans, legislations and incentives to reduce our country's carbon emissions.


One of the major bans is the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles. Public sectors such as the NHS, Fire Brigade and Police force are not exempt from the ban and are moving towards electric vehicles.


Let's take a look at what EVs may be incorporated into our emergency services.



NHS England


It is estimated that the NHS produces around 4% of the UK's emissions. This comes from many factors, such as the NHS fleet, day-to-day running of hospitals and surgeries, the supply chain, and patient commuting.


The most common non-electric ambulance in the UK is a panel van converted from vehicles such as the Mercedes Sprinter.


VCS launched the Electric Dual Crewed Ambulance back in 2020, the first fully-electric ambulance in the UK. Using their innovative 'Core Capture' construction method, the ambulance is powered by lithium-ion batteries on the bottom of the vehicle base.


Capabilities:

  • Zero-emissions

  • 129 brake horsepower

  • Up to 110-miles range

  • Top speed of 75mph

  • Charges in 4 hours



Other alternatives to the traditional ICE ambulance fleet vehicle is the Ford Mustang Mach-E, and electric motorbikes.


NHS Fleet Solutions also added 500 Nissan Leads to their fleet in 2021, one year after adding 700 Jaguar I-Paces as company cars available through benefit in kind.


This comes as part of the NHS's aim to be Net Zero by 2040. They are also encouraging the cycle to work scheme and are looking into the "installation of electric vehicle charging points" in order to enable further electrification.

The Police force


The most common police cars in the UK are the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, and Vauxhall Insignia.


As part of the drive towards Net Zero, forces such as West Midlands Police aim to be zero-emissions by 2050.


By 2022, the UK force had more than 400 electric vehicles and over 800 chargers.


This doesn't mean that there has been a country-wide uptake, however. Larger constabularies such as the Metropolitan Police Service has almost 100 EVs, and Gloucestershire Constabulary has over 80.


There are still some forces with only petrol and diesel vehicles, such as Durham, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.


The most popular electric vehicles used by police are the ever-popular Nissan Leaf. BMW i3, Vauxhall Corsa-e, and Renault Zoe.


The Tesla Model 3 has been tested for use since 2021 in the UK and have been used in American police forces. Example vehicles were on show at both the London EV Show and the Fully Charged Show.


For a full recap on the Fully Charged Show, read our article here!


Tesla Model 3 Stats:


  • 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds

  • 374 mile WLTP range

  • Top speed of 162mph

  • Leading traction control in all weather conditions

  • Charge up to 170 miles in 15 minutes on a Tesla Supercharger




Fire Brigades


Alike the police, London Fire Brigade aims to have a zero emission fleet by 2050.


The most common fire engine in the UK is the Mercedes Ategos. Electric alternatives have been in development by companies such as The Emergency One Group for some time.


The Group's E1 EV0 is the world's first fully electric fire engine and was created as "a low emission fire and rescue vehicle that exceeds the current appliance specification." They didn't want to simply create a hybrid or a concept vehicle and instead made an EV that meets EN1846 criteria.





Are electric vehicles good enough to be used as part of an emergency response?


One of the most common criticisms of electric vehicles is that the real-world range is not good enough to meet consumer demand.


Venari's CEO Oliver North vehemently disagrees with this. North says, "The vehicle will be able to do more than enough miles on a single charge to meet the demands of a typical shift".


According to 'Outrun an Ambulance', the average ambulance does 31 miles in a 12-hour shift. VCS's Electric Dual Crewed Ambulance can achieve up to 110 miles on a single charger and takes 4 hours to recharge.


“We anticipate that [the electric vehicle] will be deployed most often in an urban environment, where it may do as few as 70 miles a day," North continued.


Charging infrastructure needs improvement throughout the UK and Charge and Recharge is working with local councils, SMEs, and EV manufacturers to improve the charging network.


For emergency service EVs, fast chargers (aka DC chargers) are recommended for use to ensure maximum efficiency.


A inquiry by the Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed that Police Scotland spent £20 million of EV fleet vehicles, but had to resort to using public chargers after failing to have suitable chargers installed.


If you want to avoid making the same mistake, contact Charge and Recharge today!






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