Supporting Healthier Communities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
B.C.’s Paramedics and Dispatchers Report Adopting Electric Vehicles Could Save Tax Payers $100,000/Vehicle Over 11 Years and Provide a Healthier Work Environment.
VANCOUVER, B.C., May 13, 2021– In the wake of new commercial electric vehicle (EV) incentives announced in January by the BC government, the Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC (APBC) are seeking greater support for electric vehicle trials in the emergency health sector.
With the exception of possibly testing an electric ambulance that is still in development, APBC is unaware of any plans BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) – the paramedics’ employer – may have to add electric vehicles (EVs) to their fleet. In comparison, many emergency services in and outside BC began deploying EVs several years ago.
“We see deploying electric vehicles as an exciting opportunity within our fleet. It really is a win-win-win situation.” said David Hollingworth, a local Vancouver paramedic and chair of the APBC’s Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC). “Not only will these vehicles significantly reduce our organization’s carbon footprint, but they will provide our patients and ourselves with a healthier work environment, and could ultimately result in significant savings for the government and taxpayers.”
Hollingworth further explained that a study completed by the ECCC shows that replacing one Paramedic Response Unit (an SUV used for single paramedic response) based in the Langley area would save $65,000 over an 8-year period. However as new electric vehicles have drivetrains and battery packs that are estimated to last 500,000km, it’s possible these vehicles could have a longer lifespan than a conventional SUV, and therefore see savings of $115,000 over an 11-year period. These savings would be realized in the cost of fuel, maintenance, and the longer lifespan of the electric vehicle.
BCEHS currently operates over 500 ground ambulances and 180 smaller support vehicles. These smaller support vehicles are currently the best suited to be replaced by EVs due to the growing number of commercially available small and mid-size EVs, and could help establish some of the charging infrastructure and operational knowledge that would help facilitate the eventual deployment of electric ambulances in the fleet.
The union has been lobbying for the deployment of EV and Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle trials since 2017. BCEHS management has not responded to the union’s request that the fleet be regularly evaluated for potential EV adoption, according to the ECCC. The BCEHS executive have also declined to act on a union recommendation to bring forward policy on the charging of personal vehicles at BCEHS facilities.
The APBC hope to continue working with the Government of British Columbia to improve the overall health of British Columbians both now and in the future and believe funding and supporting EV pilot projects within government fleets will contribute to a healthier and sustainable environment. “The B.C. government’s investment of $35.8 million in programs to support fleets (including public fleets) to transition to clean energy is a good start, but unfortunately due to the eligibility criteria is not of much use to us at present.” said Hollingworth.
Both the provincial and federal governments have set targets of 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2040.
About Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC:
Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of British Columbia is the union organization that represents the 4,500+ Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of the province of British Columbia, Canada. Please visit www.apbc.ca for more information.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC
Phone: 604 273-5722
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