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Zero emission emergency vehicles from Emergency One

Zero emission emergency vehicles from Emergency One

Cumnock-based Emergency One is the UK’s leading manufacturer of fire and rescue machinery. Our innovation teams worked closely with the company to help it develop a ground-breaking, zero carbon emission emergency vehicle. Find out about the company’s commitment to decarbonisation.

COP26 may be over, but its message regarding the climate emergency is still echoing around the world.  

Sustainability is finally taking the spotlight on the global stage. For some companies, though, making products more sustainable was a goal long before climate change hit the headlines. 

Cumnock-based Emergency One (E-1) has been developing a ground-breaking, zero-emission emergency vehicle for several years, and it’s now ready to officially hit the road worldwide.  

Emergency One - electric fire engine

Fighting the climate emergency

The transport sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the UK, responsible for 27% of all air pollution caused by using petrol and diesel on our roads. 

While the popularity of electric and hybrid cars has steadily grown since their commercial development in the last decade, sustainable solutions have not yet reached emergency services vehicles to the same extent.   

Over 90,000 calls a day are made to emergency call centres in the UK. While not everyone will require the dispatch of an emergency vehicle, a large proportion do, and each response produces carbon dioxide (CO2). 

A standard fire engine, for example, has a CO2 output of approximately 1260g per km. How far a fire engine must travel will depend on its proximity to the scene but, depending on the seriousness of the incidence, additional vehicles may be required to travel from further afield, adding to the CO2 output.   

Reducing the carbon footprint of emergency vehicles 

In 2018, Scotland saw a 28% increase in secondary fires linked to the hot, dry summer. 

In a vicious circle, extreme weather conditions (as a result of climate change) are increasing the number of fire and rescue service vehicles needed, which in turn escalates the carbon emissions they release. This presents a unique challenge, particularly as fire and rescue services can’t use many of the simple emission-reducing solutions used by other industries. 

They can’t change their proximity to reduce the miles travelled, or reduce the size of their vehicles, and they can’t reduce the number of vehicles they operate. What they can do, though, is change the vehicles themselves. 

However, sustainable emergency vehicles that meet the required specifications simply haven’t existed – until E-1’s latest innovation, that is.   

Emergency service customers across the globe, particularly fire and rescue services, were seeking a solution to reduce their fleet emissions and carbon footprint. But it wasn’t an easy job. The E-1 engineers not only had to design a zero-emissions fire appliance, they had to do it with the strict criteria imposed by the service requirements of an emergency vehicle, not to mention their own high standards.   

They didn’t want to create a hybrid or concept vehicle that had limited range and operational performance. Instead, they tasked themselves with producing a next-generation solution that not only encompassed the features of the current model, but also included innovative new features that would improve safety for both firefighters and the public.   

World’s first fully electric fire engine

Our innovation teams worked closely with E-1 on the project and awarded a £500,000 research and development grant as a contribution towards the company’s £1.7 million investment into the vehicle’s development.  

The result was the E1-EV0, the world’s first fully electric fire engine. The ground-breaking vehicle was launched in October 2020 and represents a huge step forward in the ambition to decarbonise healthcare transport, both in the UK and globally. 

Scottish Enterprise is proud to have worked with Emergency One over many years and to has supported this project to create the world’s first net zero fire engine, built in Cumnock. This will not only save lives in the role it will serve, but also contribute to Scotland’s wider low carbon targets.

Linda Hanna, Managing Director, Scottish Economic Development

Logo

The company’s tagline for the E1-EV0 is ‘zero emissions, zero compromise’ which summarises its vision for the vehicle: a sustainable solution that doesn’t sacrifice functionality. 

E-1 was already exporting to major overseas markets, but the revolutionary EV0, with its bespoke capabilities (such as fully modular storage systems) and ability to be easily integrated into existing fleets, has the potential to expand even further.  

The world-firsts don’t stop with EV0. The company’s manufacturing expertise has helped supply Europe’s tallest turntable ladder on a fire engine, the development of graphical user interfaces such as eCabControl and ePumpControl and the first British-designed appliance of its type, the E1 Scorpion™ - this state-of-the-art ladder is built for tackling fires at long range, evolving existing technology to improve safety and simplify operation.  

Sustainable emergency vehicles 

Emergency One’s commitment to decarbonising fire and rescue appliances and vehicles doesn’t stop with the EV0. 

The innovations used in this vehicle can be applied to other evolutions of existing appliances. The solar panels that sit on the top of the EV0 to provide renewable charging, for example, can be further developed for other appliances.   

Emergency One has demonstrated its ability to innovate in this area, creating revolutionary products that will help not just Scotland, but the world, achieve net zero ambitions. 

The company is committed to this goal, with sustainability built into its values which include a pledge to never be wasteful and always engage in sustainable practices. It also signed up to an initiative to bring together businesses, cities and countries to work towards a net zero future, as a public declaration of these commitments.   

Read about the Race to Zero, campaign on the UNFCC website 

There’s still a way to go to reach net zero for fire and rescue services, but with conscientious companies like Emergency One committed to reaching these targets through innovations like the EV0 fire truck, we finally have a vehicle for change. 

Learn more about Emergency One on the E-1 group website. 

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