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Ambulance service to extend trialling of electric vehicles

Date: 04 August 2023

Time: 10:00

EEAST is preparing to introduce more operational electric rapid response vehicles (RRVs) and to begin extensive trialling of electric ambulances in 2024.

Over the next 12 months we will start taking delivery of 15 new electric RRVs (Skoda Enyaq iV 80x) to go into immediate service, plus double-staffed (Mercedes E-Vito) people carrier-type vehicles to be used as dedicated mental health vehicles.

EEAST was part of a national Pathfinder scheme that trialled electric RRVs and other non-patient carrying vehicles in 2022.

Paul Henry, Deputy Director of Operations Support, said the move towards more electric vehicles is an essential investment in the future of the organisation, but acknowledged it is a significant step for the Trust, and part of big changes to the NHS and the community at large:

“The NHS is committed to reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change, reducing air pollution, which has a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve, and achieving net zero emissions by 2040” he said.

“We recognise it will require changes to patterns of driving and refuelling and will be providing staff with all necessary familiarisation and training.”

Additionally in 2024, the Trust will take delivery of three electric Ford double-staffed ambulances for extensive trialling.

During the trials, three non patient-carrying electric ambulances will shadow diesel ones so the effect of driving patterns experienced during normal shifts can be observed and measured on the new vehicles. When these trials are completed and it is considered safe to do so, electric ambulances will then be trialled carrying patients – but shadowed by a diesel vehicle.

Paul Henry said: “These extensive trials on three vehicles are intended to gain information about how the new generation of electric vehicles perform under the real-life conditions of an everyday shift and also to help us make the transition for staff as easy as possible.
“Most importantly, it will be to mitigate any possible risk to patients. Patient-carrying vehicles will not be introduced to our operational fleet until trials have indicated that it is safe to do so.”

The first of the new RRVs will be delivered towards the end of 2023 and to ensure that the correct infrastructure is in place, works will start at 18 Trust sites this summer and into autumn to install charging points for fleet vehicles.

The Trust is in talks with acute trusts to ensure sufficient charging capability is in place at hospitals, and also with commercial charging providers to ensure vehicles can be charged away from their base station.


  • Summary:

    EEAST is preparing to introduce more operational electric rapid response vehicles (RRVs) and begin extensive trialling of electric ambulances.