Kia e-Niro adapted for use as electric emergency response vehicles
Two Kia e-Niro electric cars have been adapted for use as electric emergency response vehicles for an NHS ambulance trust.
The e-Niro cars have joined the fleet at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) and are expected to bring a 25% reduction in maintenance costs compared to their petrol or diesel equivalents.
The cars will be used as part of an initial pilot study, exploring their performance, cost and environmental benefits. Following the pilot, further electric response vehicles are expected to be deployed on the trust’s 1,300-strong fleet.
Charles Porter, director of finance at SCAS, said: “I am delighted that these first two fully electric, zero-emission emergency response vehicles will shortly be introduced to our operational fleet.
“As an organisation, we operate over 1,300 vehicles to deliver our services so being able to move to fully electric vehicles will be vital in order to deliver our environmental goals. We are key partners in national projects to deliver zero-emission emergency vehicle fleets and we are already exploring how we can bring electric vehicles into our emergency ambulance and patient transport service operations.”
SCAS began its search for a suitable electric vehicle over 18 months ago. The e-Niro met all the trust’s requirements, providing an all-round, versatile vehicle. It delivers an official range of up to 282 miles – well within the estimated 90-100 miles that an emergency response vehicle will cover in an average 10-hour operational shift. Charging points are available at the trust’s ambulance stations, as well as local hospitals, enabling the vehicles to be easily topped up if needed whilst on standby, and staff are being given training before heading out the road.
Each car has been designed and adapted by South Central Fleet Services, ensuring they’re equipped with life-saving equipment, medication and supplies for first responder paramedics.
Gregory Edwards, vehicle commissioning unit manager, South Central Fleet Services, said: “It was really exciting for my team and I to be given the opportunity to design the vehicles from the ground up, taking them from a standard electric road vehicle to an emergency response vehicle. There were a number of challenges we had to overcome, including ensuring the additional electric systems needed in an emergency vehicle wouldn’t drain the battery, emergency light fittings, weight and space limitations, but we’re really pleased with the end result and our operational colleagues can’t wait to get behind the wheel and take them out to help our patients.”