FT hydrogen ambulance

A design for a zero-emission hydrogen-fuelled ambulance has been unveiled by the hydrogen vehicle company ULEMCo, with the aim of a prototype being tested by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) this autumn.

The project, named ZERRO for Zero Emission Rapid Response Operations ambulance, is funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).

ULEMCo is leading the project, and with its partners has achieved an agreed design for the hydrogen-powered ambulance. This is now progressing to the prototype build stage, which incorporates a hydrogen fuel cell range extender with an electric drive, low frame chassis and bespoke lightweight ambulance body designed and manufactured by Woodall Nicholson Group’s Mellor, Promech Technologies and VCS Limited.

“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.”

Chris Rutherford, head of fleet strategy & transformation at LAS, added: “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.”

“Hydrogen continues to play an increasingly important role in the energy mix,” said Dr Francesca Iudicello, programme manager – automotive at Innovate UK. “We are proud to support this important work, and look forward to seeing the benefits of zero emission vehicles with a high readiness for service.”