Resolution on The Implementation of an Electric Ambulance Pilot Project

Replacing gas- and diesel-powered ambulances with their electric counterparts is inevitable, and this will be a great boon for society. Bloomberg.com recently reported that the sale of electric vehicles could surpass the sale of the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2038.

Not only will the transition to electric vehicles save society billions of dollars in health- and climate-related expenses, it will save BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) more than one million dollars each year in fuel alone, just in the lower mainland. While we are not in a position to convert a large percentage of our fleet to electric yet, we are capable of implementing the first e-ambulance pilot project. The potential benefits are tremendous. Most importantly, the pilot project will allow e-ambulance developers to perfect their design. As the price of EV batteries drops, and solutions for mitigating problems such as power outages are created, improvements to subsequent versions of the electric-powered ambulance can be incorporated into the design. Maintenance expenses for the vehicles will drop, and there is potential for a Canadian company to be the first to design and build an electric ambulance. In addition, as more paramedics experience the benefits of driving an electric vehicle at work, they will be more likely to drive one for personal use.

When it comes to the electrification of the modern ambulance, we need to do what is right for our safety, our patients’ health, and the health of our climate for future generations. It is also quite possible that a plug-in hybrid ambulance will provide the long range of a gas-powered ambulance, with essentially all the benefits of electric vehicles, such as minimal maintenance, massive fuel savings, longer life span, and greatly reduced carbon emissions. If we can determine that there is a financial argument for converting every ambulance in BC to a plug-in hybrid solution, we can revolutionize the modern ambulance.

Here is the resolution.

The Implementation of an Electric Ambulance Pilot Project

Whereas

  • The replacement of gas vehicles with their electric counterparts is a key component to solving the global climate crisis which is now well understood to be jeopardizing all future generations in addition to our own.

And whereas

  • The cost to power a vehicle with electricity is 25% of the cost to power a vehicle with gas, and that the costs of maintaining an electric vehicle is 70% that of a gas-powered vehicle, and that fuel savings alone would equate to more than $1M / year should the entire BCEHS lower mainland ambulance fleet be replaced with electric ambulances.

And whereas

  • The life expectancy of an EV motor is more than two million km of trouble-free motoring compared to the life expectancy of 320,000 km for an internal combustion engine.

And whereas

  • The American Lung Association estimated the health costs associated with vehicle emissions within just 10 of the United States to be over $24 billion for 2015, and that the International Agency on Cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency both agree that diesel exhaust and benzene in gasoline are known carcinogens.

And whereas

  • Ambulances are often left idling in front of stations and emergency departments to maintain the demands of the heating, cooling and electrical systems, exposing our members and patients to harmful emissions. We are also exposed to benzene in gasoline on a daily basis while fulfilling the duty of fuelling our vehicles.

And whereas

  • Hospitals were amongst the earliest organizations to ban the smoking of tabaco, and are currently very diligent in posting the non-smoking aspect of their properties, and that this evidence would suggest that the ambulance service would be in a unique position to be of the first organizations to pursue the adoption of electric vehicles that are better for the environment and peoples health.

And whereas

  • Station 248 has six hospitals within a driving distance of 10 km.

And whereas

  • Estimates show the average distance travelled between potential charging locations (namely stations and hospitals) by an ambulance operating out of Station 248 is eight km.

And whereas

  • The least expensive of the passenger EVs now offer a range of 173km, which would enable the vehicle to travel back and forth between any of Vancouver General Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Saint Paul’s Hospital, and Station 248 16 times (32 one-way trips) without requiring charging.

And whereas

  • It is estimated that, on average, ambulances operating out of Station 248 spend 37 minutes at a potential charging site and 45 minutes away from potential charging sites while on a call.

And whereas

  • Pilot projects are already underway for vehicles capable of carrying heavy loads with significant electrical demands (e.g., electric garbage trucks and electric buses).

And whereas

  • Considering all of the above, an electric ambulance trial operating out of Station 248 is highly feasible, especially if it was to operate on a Bravo or Bravo/Charlie pattern whereby the ambulance would be fully charged at the beginning of every shift.

Let it be resolved that

  • CUPE 873 will lobby the employer and other key players to implement and/or participate in an electric ambulance pilot project. Furthermore, we will request they do so with the same degree of urgency that the climate crisis requires of all levels of government, business, and society, and with the goal of exemplifying how organizations can be key contributors to the solution of the climate crisis and can reap financial rewards and improve a working environment in doing so. We will also request the employer regularly reevaluate the e-ambulance trial with the intention of expanding the e-ambulance fleet.

Special Note: There is a mistake in the version of this resolution that was submitted for convention. The math that was used to calculate the average yearly savings of over $1 Million a year is wrong in the first footnote. The result of over $ 1 Million per year was not wrong however. The correct math is below and based on a annual fuel expense of $27,657 for an Alpha (day and night) ambulance, 67 ambulance in the Vancouver post, 34 of which operate as bravo / charlies ( half days), and a savings of 75% in fuel for switching to an electric vehicle as estimated by BC Hydro.

67 x $27657 = $1,853,019 Total for 67 Alpha ambulances

(34 x $27657) / 2 = $470,169 Bravo / Charlie only works half day

$1,853,019-$470,169 =

Total Fuel Costs for Vancouver Post = $1,382,850

$1,382,850 x 75% = $1,037,137 Total Savings

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