North West Ambulance Service
set to save millions with RRVs
WHEN you hear of electric vehicles you probably think of
milk floats, but would have thought rapid response vehicles? Well if you did, you
are spot on...
The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) are now all set to become more
environmentally friendly as they plan to introduce electrically powered rapid
response vehicles (RRVs) into their fleet.
NWAS will be 1 of the 1st Ambulance Services in the Country to introduce
electric cars as part of their standard fleet and it is expected that it could
save the Trust up to ₤2.5 million in fuel costs, over the 4 year lease period.
RRVs are motorcars that have been converted into emergency response vehicles.
They are designed to be able to attend emergencies quicker than regular
ambulances because they are smaller and can get through traffic more easily.
Although they don't generally carry patients to Hospital, they are staffed by a
Paramedic who is able to administer life saving treatment at the scene of an
Neil Maher, Assistant Director Service Delivery Support for North West Ambulance
Service said:- "The Trust relies heavily on rapid response vehicles to be
able to attend patients as quickly as possible. The introduction of these
electrically powered cars will not only provide huge cost savings for the Trust,
it will also have a huge impact on our carbon footprint, reducing the carbon
contribution from our RRVs from 1379.28 tonnes to 100.8 tonnes, a reduction of
Maintenance and lease costs are also reduced with the introduction of the new
RRV model, with an overall expected annual saving of over ₤4,300 per vehicle.
NWAS currently has 174 rapid response vehicles throughout the North West and
will initially be introducing four electrically powered vehicles as a trial. The
Trust will look to replace all RRVs with the new electric models gradually in
the coming years once the life span of the current vehicles comes to an end.
The 4 vehicles, initially being trialled in Bury and Rochdale, will be an
updated version of the BMW i3 model which has won various awards including UK
Car of the Year and Green Car of the Year.
The BMW i3 REx AC model, which is already being used in Police and Fire Services
within the UK, is equipped with a system that can support the vehicle by extending
the mileage range using a small petrol engine that can generate electricity for
the battery. This will only be used in extreme circumstances, but will provide
additional reliability for NWAS.
Neil continues: Neil continues:- "Although electric cars have been around
for some time, improvements in technology from BMW have allowed the Trust to be
confident enough to use them for emergency response units. The vehicles are
fitted with additional technology meaning the engine can be powered by petrol in
the unlikely event that the battery does run out. With the correct charging
routines and future battery advancement it is hoped that this system will only
be used on a small number of occasions to allow the Trust to achieve a target of
zero emissions. Although the technology available on the market has not yet
advanced far enough to allow the Trust to introduce electric vehicles throughout
its entire ambulance fleet, this is a very exciting starting point and we are
looking forward to further advances in the future."
A number of electric charging points have been installed across the Trust and
the 1st vehicles are expected to be in operation by early April 2017.