The Welsh Ambulance Service has unveiled ultra-modern additions to its fleet.
Among the new vehicles introduced to its 799-strong fleet is a low-emission hybrid rapid response car, the first of its kind for the service. The trust has also commissioned new and improved emergency and non-emergency ambulances, as well as a fleet maintenance vehicle to help with the upkeep of its new haul. It is hoped the more fuel efficient vehicles will drive down CO2 emissions and improve the experience of both staff and patients.
David Holmes, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Fleet Manager, said, “Modern ambulance vehicles are essential in order that we can continue to provide the best experience possible for our patients. They’re also important for staff who can spend hours at a time during the course of a shift out and about in these vehicles. These vehicles make for an exciting addition to our expanding fleet, and we look forward to rolling them out across Wales.”
Forty-six of the new Toyota Rav4 Hybrid rapid response cars are now on the road across Wales, replacing some of the trust’s older diesel-powered vehicles. The mile-per-gallon of the new rapid response car will increase from around 22mpg to 31mpg, which equates to a reduction of around 125 tonnes of CO2 emitted per year.
The cars are also equipped with Toyota’s AWD-i intelligent all-wheel drive technology, which provides extra grip in adverse weather, and anti-bacterial seat coverings which destroy bacteria on contact.
Meanwhile, the new 70-plate Mercedes Sprinter emergency ambulance boasts a radar controlled ‘active brake assist’ system, which can prevent collisions. The trust has taken delivery of 24 of these vehicles so far, with more expected to come online in the next two months.
Elsewhere, the Renault Master non-emergency ambulance has been fitted with solar films (see image below) and an intelligent battery management system, which eliminates the need for the vehicle to be shoreline charged when not in use, as well as added safety features. Twenty-seven of these vehicles are now in service, with a further 13 coming online in November.
The trust has also commissioned new Renault Traffic maintenance vehicles to help with the smooth-running of its fleet, as well as an Incident Support Unit for its Hazardous Area Response Team and two specialised vehicles for its Cardiff-based Cycle Response Unit.
Chris Turley, the Trust’s Executive Director for Finance and Corporate Resources, said, “The modernisation of our fleet is a piece of work which never stops. The new features of these vehicles are without a doubt impressive, but what’s more significant to us is their improved efficiency.
“As Wales’ national ambulance service spread over an area of 8000 square miles, lowering our emissions and reducing our carbon footprint is something we’re very committed to. This was further committed to by the Trust Board approving our first ever Environment Strategy at its meeting last week, for which the continuing modernisation of our fleet will be an integral part of its delivery.
“As we head into winter, and with a second wave of Covid-19 upon us, it’s more important than ever to have a fleet which literally keeps the wheels turning on our ambulance service.”