West Midlands Ambulance Service has launched the UK’s first all-electric zero-emissions emergency ambulance.
The service is currently trialling the vehicle, produced by Bradford-based ambulance conversion specialist VCS and believed to be the lightest of its type in use anywhere in the world.
Powered by lithium-ion batteries in the underside of its floor pan, the ambulance has a top speed of 75mph and a range of 105-110 miles.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) chief executive Anthony Marsh said: “Working with industry specialists like VCS, we have used aircraft-style technology and design to create the most hi-tech and lightest ambulances in the country.
“This has continually reduced our impact on the environment by lowering our CO2 levels and ensured 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 our country to introduce a fully electric emergency ambulance.”
Mr Marsh described the new vehicle as a “sensible step” in light of the clean air zone due to be introduced in Birmingham city centre.
Previous trials have seen electric patient transport ambulances and fast response vehicles deployed in other parts of the country.
Tony Page, general manager for fleet and facilities management at WMAS, said the new vehicle also provided enhanced crash structures, improving safety for crews.
“This vehicle will allow us to develop this technology rapidly so that we can develop a zero-emissions fleet over the coming years,” Mr Page said.
Mark Kerrigan, managing director of 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.
“VCS has always been at the forefront of emergency service vehicle innovation, so we saw it as our duty to bring the pioneering electric ambulance to market.”