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Alternative Fuel Ambulances


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#1 SEJames

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 08:37 PM

Hello,
We are in the process of designing a new ambulance. One of our ambulance vendors has discussed the use of an alternative fuel chassis. Are any programs using this type of chassis yet? If so, what has been your experience? We would love to be more "green" but we are unsure if the technology is safe and efficient enough for EMS use. Related comments are welcomed. Thanks!
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#2 Macgyver

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 03:29 AM

Hello,
We are in the process of designing a new ambulance. One of our ambulance vendors has discussed the use of an alternative fuel chassis. Are any programs using this type of chassis yet? If so, what has been your experience? We would love to be more "green" but we are unsure if the technology is safe and efficient enough for EMS use. Related comments are welcomed. Thanks!


What do you mean exactly by "Alternative Fuel"? Not much difference between diesel and biodiesel since commercial usere aren't going out and scoring veggie oil to run in thier units - most modern diesels can handle various ethanol levels...Ditto gasoline.

Hydrogen might work, Propane isn't really all that green, and hybrids really an expensive incremental change....

Now Wind Powered on the other hand WOULD be unique and green. They have rigid sail ships so why not trucks/ambulances..... :P
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Ken BHSc, RN, REMT-P

#3 csanborn

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 04:21 PM

I looked at International's Hybrid during our last truck design. In the research I found that the trucks have an increase in efficiency while "city" driving, but there isn't any change at highway speeds. On top of that you have the battery pack that no-one was able to say how long they should last and changing them out was a considerable expense.

With all of that being said. I think they are getting there but aren't there yet for an ambulance, let alone a critical care ambulance with has a much high power demand due to our mission.
Chris
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#4 RW_daddy23

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 08:38 PM

Hello,
We are in the process of designing a new ambulance. One of our ambulance vendors has discussed the use of an alternative fuel chassis. Are any programs using this type of chassis yet? If so, what has been your experience? We would love to be more "green" but we are unsure if the technology is safe and efficient enough for EMS use. Related comments are welcomed. Thanks!


Biodiesel has been linked to many problems in comparison to regular diesel. Some military bases have used the bio mix and run into lots of problems. It that is something you are considering and have a military base close contact the transportation section and speak with someone and get the pros and cons.
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"If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards....."
Paul "Bear" Bryant

#5 JLP

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:28 PM

Biodiesel has been linked to many problems in comparison to regular diesel. Some military bases have used the bio mix and run into lots of problems. It that is something you are considering and have a military base close contact the transportation section and speak with someone and get the pros and cons.


Speaking as a fairly serious enviro-geek (I have more miles on my bicycle than some people have on their cars), I would suggest that if you want to reduce your carbon footprint quickly (a very worthy goal), you would get more bang for your buck faster by targetting changes you can do right now without going to as-yet immature technologies such as biodiesel. Biodiesel really only reduces carbon output when it uses waste bio-products (e.g. used cooking oil, wood pulp liquor, etc). Bio-fuel from commercial crops has no carbon-reducing impact at all; it really serves no purposes except pushing up corn prices. You can significantly cut your carbon output immediately by:

- improve dispatching to "stack" trips so that empty trips are reduced (i.e. rather than drive to B to get a patient to go to C, then drive from A back to B, go A to B, then B to C) and avoidable driving of giant trucks is minimized.

- use vehicles that use less fuel to do non-transport work (if you do this) such as picking up staff or equipment.

- create an organized carpool system for your staff to reduce the number of people driving in separately from the same direction (also gives tired staff a break from always driving all the way home, as they can take turns being the driver).

There are other ways. Putting in plug-in heating, a/c and electrical power systems so that you can reduce idling for temperature control and turn down the heat in your garages, determining where most of your calls come from so that you can post near those spots, making base-sharing agreements so that you don't have to drive all the way back to a central base, creating shift-change-on-the-fly protocols so that people can avoid having to go all the way back to base to then drive to home when they were already close to home, etc.

Good luck dude: I wish my company cared about that.
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