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VCS launches UK’s first all-electric front-line ambulance

Published: 5 October 2020 - Rachael Morling

UK ambulance conversion specialist, VCS, has launched 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. The first step in electrifying the UK emergency services, the E-DCA will be used on the service’s front line in emergency situations. Its development by VCS reflects emergency services operators’ desire to bring the sector in-line with the global demand for widespread zero emission transport.
 
VCS launches UK’s first all-electric front-line ambulance
 
Harnessing the expert capabilities of VCS and the wider skillset available within parent company, Woodall Nicholson Group, the E-DCA showcases both companies’ focus on class-leading engineering excellence and innovation. The VCS product line-up, all manufactured at its Bradford site, includes a wide range of vehicle marques.  The company is recognised as producing the highest quality vehicles within the emergency services industry; a result of its commitment to highly skilled, British-built design and engineering expertise.
 
Using VCS’s already class-leading lightweight ‘Core Capture’ construction method, the E-DCA employs zero emissions powertrain technology developed and proven within 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.
 
VCS launches UK’s first all-electric front-line ambulance
 
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 gang way 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. VCS has always been at the forefront of emergency service vehicle innovation, so we saw it as our duty to bring the pioneering E-DCA to market. 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.”
 
VCS launches UK’s first all-electric front-line ambulance
 
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.
 
“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.”
 


 
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