London Ambulance Service (LAS) has welcomed nine state-of-the-art MAN ambulances, designed specifically for London’s streets, with input from over 400 frontline clinicians.
These new ambulances, with dozens more arriving in the next few months, will replace older vehicles in the fleet.
A survey conducted by LAS gathered ideas and suggestions from frontline crews, ensuring the new ambulances are suitable for the unique demands of patient care in the capital.
The ambulances were manufactured in Germany by a company specialising in emergency vehicles.
Rob Macintosh, Head of Fleet at LAS, highlighted the ambulances’ safety, reliability, accessibility, and energy efficiency.
The new vehicles also include a powered system for stretcher loading, easing the process for ambulance crews.
An asset management system tracks emergency equipment, alerting staff if items are lost or need replacement.
Costing £156,000 each, the fully-equipped ambulances will be funded by internal capital and money secured from commissioners.
In addition to the nine delivered ambulances, 11 more MAN ambulances and 112 other ambulances have been ordered.
These new vehicles are lightweight, greener, and more efficient, meeting London’s strict clean air zone targets.
The first-of-their-kind MAN ambulances underwent rigorous evaluation by academics and ambulance experts, including a 950-point checklist, ergonomic evaluation, crash-testing, and assessments of fuel consumption, emissions, brake-fading, and handling.
The ambulances are also equipped with a Crew Safety System, featuring video cameras, panic buttons, and electronic tracking.
These new ambulances will contribute to LAS’s compliance with London’s ultra-low emission zone and support the goal of achieving zero emissions by 2030. Additionally, four fully electric ambulances are expected to be delivered to LAS later this year.
LAS Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles emphasised the importance of these next-generation ambulances for improving the environment, safety, and comfort for crews and patients alike.
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The electric dream, or in London’s case, nightmare, will never happen. There is insufficient electricity to charge millions of vehicles, they take too long to charge compared to filling up with fuel and are far too heavy and expensive.
Lithium has been largely cornered by the Chinese so we are at their mercy for prices. The mining of Cobalt uses child labour in the Congo, something I would like to think would appal the average greeny, but apparently not. Then there is the question of copper. Demand will end up greater than current capacity.
Let us stick to charging alone. Ambulances, like police vehicles, work around the clock. Currently, it takes some 7-8 minutes to top off a tank for several hundred miles of operation, including separate heating for the load area. On an electric vehicle, this would all come off the main battery which in winter, is only good for a couple of hundred miles, less if running a space heater. It then takes a couple of hours to fully charge on a fast charger, but we need a bit of context here.
A 150 KW fast charger requires the power supply of 11 terraced houses. Having a dozen of these chargers at a station will represent a serious electrical demand and probably need new cabling, perhaps for some distance to something bigger. The cost will be eye watering. Then there is the fleet management.
A whole new shift system will have to be devised so that some vehicles are back being charged and even then, the fleet will have to be enlarged simply to accommodate those off the road for charging periods.
We must also bear in mind that batteries constantly fast charged will get hot and will not last so long. At around £10,000 a pop, the budget is going to take a hammering.
Finally, there is the fire risk. These batteries are managed by electronics and if they go wrong, the battery goes into runaway overheat and catches fire. When they do go, they are extremely difficult to extinguish and can spontaneously re-ignite, sometimes a few days later. Of course, the same applies to a mobile phone, but with on important difference. A mobile can be dropped down the loo which will do the trick. You cannot do that with an ambulance.
Why on earth are we spending hundreds of thousands of NHS money by buying new ambulances
in Germany? I know we don’t have much of a car industry left in Britain but we will have non if we support EU countries rather than our own. We should support ALL our failing industries in Britain such as fishing, farming, steel, wave and tide energy and electric car batteries.
The government will say ‘we don’t have the money’ but we never will have if we give it to the EU.
Even Scotland are doing more than England in wave and tide energy. If the Tories want to stay in government they had better start doing something to prove they are worthy of our votes.