The upcoming electric ambulance is based on the Class 3 Lightning Electric Transit Van that was launched back in December 2020.
The 2020 Class 3 Lightning Electric Transit Van features the fourth-generation or "Gen 4" of the company's battery-electric and fuel cell electric platform based on the Ford Transit 350HD chassis.
The Gen 4 powertrain features new battery technology that provides up to 105 kWh of battery capacity. It has up to 40 percent more range than Gen 3’s 120-mile range as a battery-only vehicle.
The Gen 4 van also has fuel cell configurations that extend its range to 250 miles based on EPA-certified dynamometer testing. Pricing for the 2020 Gen 4 powertrain also suggests that it's more cost-effective compared to a gasoline van.
While the electric ambulance doesn't have an official name yet, reports say it will be delivered to initial customers by the end of 2021. Prospective customers for the vehicle include hospitals, government agencies, municipalities, commercial operators, and non-profit organizations that require ambulances.
Since ambulances spend most of the day parked and are mostly limited to certain jurisdictions that limit how far they are going to travel for a single trip, it makes sense to develop electric ambulances. After all, electric ambulances won't have multiple stops, nor will they carry multiple passengers that require them to travel across the city. (Related: Novel electric motor brings electric passenger airplanes a step closer to reality.)
Electric ambulances only need to travel from the hospital to a patient and back again as fast as possible. Once an electric ambulance has safely taken patients back to the hospital, it can be charged for as long as it needs to before being taken on another trip.
When the fourth-generation Class 3 electric van was launched in December 2020, Lightning eMotors CEO Time Reeser, explained that Class 3 vehicles like ambulances, cargo vans and passenger vans, often used by commercial and government fleets, would benefit from electrification.
Reeser also said that as the only manufacturer to offer a CARB-certified (California Air Resources Board) electric van in the Class 3 segment, REV Group gas sold more all-electric commercial EVs than any other vehicle manufacturer in America to date. He added that electrification is "reaching all different types of fleet vehicles, and ambulances are a logical next step."
Reeser continued that, unlike gas cars, electric cars are zero-emission. They're also "powerful, smooth, and quiet," something that drivers will appreciate.
And because the electric ambulances are fully electric, they don't have tailpipe emissions, making them a healthier choice for the environment. Reeser concluded that this new battery technology and other upgrades give the electric cars the range, power and features at a price that allows customers to efficiently "scale up their electric fleets."
Rod Rushing, President and CEO of REV Group, shared that the company aims to continuously help "improve the quality of life" for its customers and communities. REV Group is committed to investing "in innovative technology and leading in the electrification of commercial vehicles," said Rushing.
The electric ambulance chassis for the partnership will be produced by Lightning eMotors in Loveland, Colorado. The rest of the vehicle will be assembled at a Leader factory in South El Monte, California.
Lightning eMotors is increasing production capacity at its Colorado facility this 2021. The company aims to reach a production capacity of 1,000 electric commercial EVs per year by the end of 2021, with an ambitious mid-term goal to reach a production capacity of 20,000 vehicles per year by 2025.
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