AN AMBULANCE service has come up with a bright idea to use an electric car in the service for the first time.
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has been testing a smart Volvo V60 D6 Plug In Hybrid car during January and February.
The car, which is reported to cost more than £40,000, was based at the Bohemia Road ambulance station.
It runs on a both a diesel and an electric motor which can propel the vehicle to 60mph in six seconds.
With a 215 horsepower turbo diesel engine the car can travel at more than 140mph if needed for super fast response to emergency incidents.
SECAmb managers are now studying whether the vehicle will prove economical and whether they will purchase one.
The electric motor’s batteries can be recharged at various trust centres across the region.
SECAmb environmental manager, Julia Brown, who approached Volvo about running the trial, said: “The vast majority of our emissions are associated with the mileage resulting from our operational activity of delivering an emergency response service.
“This trial with Volvo is a valuable contribution to our overall plans to improve the resilience of our business by being able to operate our vehicles on a mix of fuels, rather than relying on one individual fuel and reducing our carbon footprint in the process.”
The vehicle is able to switch between three modes.
The first mode is the pure mode where the engine uses pure electricity to create a zero emissions electric car with a range of up to 31 miles.
The hybrid mode engages both the diesel engine and the electric motor returning up to 155 mles per gallon with low carbon dioxide emissions.
And a power mode see the turbo diesel engine combining with the 70 horsepower electric motor to reach quick speeds.
According to Volvo’s website, the company states: “It’s the world’s first and only luxury diesel hybrid that also runs on pure electricity.
“It’s a car born from Volvo’s vision of a sustainable future and increasingly efficient cars.
“And it’s a dream realised – a pioneering, engineering revolution that gives you three different ways to drive in one extraordinary car.”
Paramedic John Anderson, who was part of the team testing the new vehicle, said: “I think there will be plenty to discuss when the trial comes to an end and it is proving very interesting to be a part of it.” SECAmb spokesman, Richard Airey, added: “It’s the first time we’ve ever tested a vehicle like this before. We’ re still doing number crunching.”