As early as February this year, ULEMCo and industry partners announced the design of a fast-response electric ambulance for the British National Medical Service System Trust Fund. The ambulance will use batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.Now, the working prototype has sailed into Glasgow, allowing global leaders participating in the UN COP26 climate summit to observe this technology up close.
The NHS believes that air pollution has caused one in 20 deaths in the UK, which prompted it to commit to becoming the world’s first medical service organization dedicated to achieving net zero carbon. Since service travel and transportation account for 3.5% of all road traffic in the UK, the health agency is looking for ways to reduce harmful emissions, and the ambulance fleet seems to be a good start. GreenerNHS pointed out that the decarbonization of the ambulance fleet may reduce 87 kilotons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
The customized body of this ambulance was built by Mellor Coachcraft and adopted the Promech Technologies electric vehicle power system installed by VCS. The car is powered by a 92-kilowatt-hour battery pack that can be charged via a cable plugged into the charger, but it also includes a ULEMCo FC Rx hydrogen fuel cell range extender for quick replenishment flexibility. The range extender includes 8 kilograms of 350 bar hydrogen storage, a 30 kilowatt fuel cell and a Lyra electronic DCDC converter.
The prototype car is designed to travel up to 300 miles (approximately 483 kilometers) and a top speed of 90 miles per hour (145 km/h). A low access floor allows it to meet the payload requirements of ambulance services, and early specifications required it to carry 900 kg.
During the COP26 summit, this ambulance is on display at the GreenerNHS in the Glasgow Innovation District, and will then travel to London to start trials to test its flexibility of operation and ensure that it meets the needs of users. The National Medical Service System of England and the National Medical Service System Improvement Department hope to cooperate with the Ambulance Trust to establish more trials and are committed to launching a zero-emission ambulance plan in the future.