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EVs Getting Ready to Power Up Emergency Services in Australia

EVs in emergency services Australia

The emergency services sector is making significant strides towards sustainability by incorporating electric vehicles into their fleets. This shift not only underscores a commitment to environmental responsibility but also promises to enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs. Several Australian states recently introduced EVs to their police, ambulance, and fire service fleets, setting a new standard for emergency services.


Pioneering Change in Police Services

The New South Wales (NSW) Police has taken a bold step by adding a Hyundai Ioniq 6 electric sedan to its Nepean Police Area Command’s vehicle fleet. This EV, loaned by Hyundai Motor Company Australia, will be used by the Crime Prevention Unit for daily operations within the community. This initiative highlights the growing trend of integrating EVs into police work, although the vehicle will not be used for pursuits or road patrols. The NSW Police previously introduced a Hyundai Kona electric SUV for community engagement in January 2021.

police services and EVs
The Nepean Police Area Command Hyundai Kona EV fitted out with police livery and equipment. Image Credit: Hyundai Australia

This movement towards electric vehicles in police fleets is not confined to NSW. Queensland Police added a Kia EV6 to its highway patrol fleet, and Western Australian Police began using a Hyundai Ioniq 5 and a Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 2022. Victoria Police even incorporated a Tesla Model X into their fleet in 2019, primarily for promotional purposes.

Assistant Commissioner Matthew Vanderbyl of the Queensland Police Service emphasised the inevitability of EVs becoming the future of police cars. He noted that the broader community’s rapid adoption of electric vehicles is driving this change, highlighting the operational benefits and proven technology of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles as precursors.

Revolutionising Ambulance Services

St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney has introduced an electric ‘LDV eDeliver 9’ van into its fleet of ambulances, marking a significant milestone as the first hospital in Australia to include an electric ambulance. This fully electric van, purpose-built for local discharge and inter-hospital transfers, features an electric stretcher and dual air conditioning powered by separate batteries. The electric ambulance boasts several advantages, including up to 70% savings on fuel costs, around 40% reduction in maintenance expenses, and zero tailpipe emissions. These benefits contribute to both financial savings and environmental sustainability, helping the hospital achieve its sustainability goals.

Bob Morris, Transport and Fleet Manager
Bob Morris, Transport and Fleet Manager. Image Credit: St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney

Advancing Fire and Emergency Services

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has made headlines by incorporating its first battery-electric fire truck into its fleet. The Volvo 6×4 FMX Heavy Duty Electric Prime Mover is part of a pilot program aimed at reducing emissions and operating costs. Alongside this electric truck, QFES has also acquired a Volvo FMX 6×4 Prime Mover running on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a fossil-fuel-free alternative. This dual approach allows QFES to evaluate the performance and emissions benefits of both electric and HVO-powered vehicles.

QFES Commissioner Steve Smith highlighted the importance of these trials in shaping the agency’s decarbonisation strategy. The fleet, comprising about 500 heavy vehicles and over 1,000 Rural Fire Service vehicles, will significantly benefit from the insights gained during this pilot phase. The operational performance of these vehicles will be closely monitored, supported by Volvo Connect telematics.

Volvo electric truck for emergency services
Volvo electric truck for emergency services. Image Credit: Volvo Trucks Australia

Martin Merrick, President of Volvo Group Australia, expressed optimism about the transition to cleaner vehicles. He emphasised the collective responsibility of industry, government, and stakeholders in reducing emissions and highlighted Volvo’s commitment to partnering with Australian industries to decarbonise heavy transport.

A Greener Future for Emergency Services

The integration of electric vehicles into emergency service fleets across Australia represents a significant step towards a more sustainable future. These initiatives not only reduce the environmental impact of essential services but also demonstrate a commitment to innovation and operational efficiency. As more regions and organisations follow suit, the widespread adoption of EVs in emergency services is poised to become a global standard.

In summary, the introduction of electric vehicles into police, ambulance, and fire service fleets is a transformative move that aligns with broader environmental goals. By embracing this technology, emergency services are paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future, setting an example for other sectors to follow.

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