The first fully electric ambulance to respond to emergencies in London made its debut journey on New Year’s Eve, helping patients including those in Peckham.
On the arrival of 2024, Paramedic Telma Ricardo Guerreiro and Emergency Medical Technician Taylor Forde went out on a night shift from Oval Ambulance Station helping patients around Clapham, Peckham and Brockley in the first-of-its-kind electric Ford ambulance.
Among the many people they raced to care for on the arrival of 2024 were a patient with chest pains, a young person suffering a mental health crisis and someone who rang 999 when they began coughing up blood.
The new ambulances are part of the London Ambulance Service’s (LAS) ambition to drive towards a net zero fleet, reducing operational costs incurred from fuel and maintenance, as well as improving air quality to help reduce the prevalence of major diseases in the capital.
Taylor said: “It was very exciting taking out this special vehicle for the first time ever on New Year’s Eve.
“There’s a lot more space in the back, it drives a lot more smoothly and it really helped us get patients in and out of the ambulance more efficiently. The new features, especially the trolley bed system, enabled us to manage patient care better.”
The vehicles are lightweight and include more accessible features for crews to convey patients with a powered trolley bed system, a powered carry chair and an integrated scanning system that scans the vehicle and informs the crews whether the ambulance is fully stocked after each patient they’ve treated.
In addition, there is enough battery capacity to keep the ambulance operational throughout each 12-hour shift.
Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive at London Ambulance Service (LAS), said: “This is a game changer for ambulance designs across the world.
“We’ve had electric patient transport vehicles and support vehicles, but until now we haven’t had an electric ambulance responding to life-threatening emergencies in London.
As part of its plans to renew its fleet with greener vehicles, LAS is working with hospitals in London, including Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital and Kings College Hospital, to provide high-powered electric vehicle charging ports so crews can charge their vehicles at hospitals.
The electric ambulances are the latest addition to the largest emergency fleet of fully-electric vehicles in the country, with a total of 42 fully-electric fast-response cars and three electric motorcycles. In total, there are 160 zero-emission capable vehicles in the fleet.
Four fully electric ambulances are expected to be delivered to LAS this year and the Service plans to expand its fleet of electric ambulances from April 2024.
These vehicles are the first of twelve fully electric ambulances that will be piloted by NHS England’s Net Zero Travel and Transport team in partnership with LAS and four other ambulance trusts and will enable the collection of “real-life” data.
This will be used to inform the wider rollout of zero-emission emergency ambulances in the future.