Ambulance To Be Powered By Hydrogen

Wed 10th Feb 2021

A zero-emission ambulance powered by ultra-high-tech hydrogen fuel cells is expected to be attending emergencies across the UK’s capital later this year after a leading fuel pioneer announced it had reached a historic agreement.

Liverpool based ULEMCo, with investment from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles have designed and developed the Zero Emission Rapid Response Operations ambulance, which is expected to be trialled by London Ambulance Service in the autumn of 2021.

The new-look zero-emission ambulance will be built for the future, with low access floors, removing the need for heavy lifting equipment, while the frame-based bodywork will ensure that the weight of the vehicle can meet the payload requirements of the service.

ULEMCo have called on the expertise of home delivery shopping platform, Ocado, to develop the ZERRO, with experience in light-weighting and plenty of experience in electric vehicles.

“Given the energy need of the NHS ambulance duty cycle, it seems clear that hydrogen fuel is needed to provide both the range and vehicle availability for emergency response requirements”, said Amanda Lyne, Managing Director of ULEMCo. “Working with Mellor, Promech Technologies and VCS Limited, we have the advantage of designing a bespoke ambulance based on their current battery technology vehicle platform. This has enabled us to apply our capability in integrating hydrogen fuel cell range extension systems, and to prove that this will be a really viable and practical solution for NHS fleets across the UK.”

With public sector organisations facing increasing pressure to provide sustainable solutions, NHS Trusts will be expected to phase out their fleet of polluting diesel and petrol ambulances over the next decade, and with hydrogen seen as one of the cleanest solutions available, Chris Rutherford from the London Ambulance Service said: “This project is a key part of our strategy for a zero emission fleet, to support the NHS aim to be the world’s first net zero national health service, and to meet or exceed the clean air requirements in London.”