West Midlands to trial VCS’s new electric ambulance

The West Midlands Ambulance service will be the first to trial a new electric ambulance built by conversion specialist VCS.

Designed, developed and produced in Bradford, West Yorkshire, the Electric Dual Crewed Ambulance (E-DCA) is said to be the UK’s first electric ambulance and the first zero emissions ambulance to be used on UK roads.

The trial will begin this month to establish the vehicle’s suitability for front line emergency response.

Anthony Marsh, chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “West Midlands Ambulance Service has been at the forefront of developing ambulance technology along with our partner VCS.  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.

“Given we operate in a clean air zone like Birmingham, this is a sensible and advantageous step forward for so many reasons.”

VCS said it developed to vehicle to reflect emergency services operators’ desire to bring the sector in-line with the global demand for widespread zero emission transport.

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

It is powered by lithium-ion batteries situated in the floor and 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.

Mark Kerrigan, managing director at VCS, added: “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 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.”

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