The INTEGRO-E is a fully electric version of the ACESO ambulance and It retains all of its ground breaking features.
The major issues with current electric ambulances are the overall weight of the vehicle, requiring the paramedic drivers to pass an expensive HGV C1 driving test and the limited range and long charging times required, often up to four hours.
We wanted to address these problems from the outset and in the INTEGRO-E we think we have achieved this.
The INTEGRO-E makes use of the vehicles double rear axle. By making the further most axle and rear chassis section separate to the main ambulance we have in essence a detachable trailer. the trailers front is a male V shape design that fits into a Female V shape design on the main chassis, the trailer is pulled into place and removed by a hydraulic ram and the towing eye pin is also removed by a hydraulic ram, both controlled inside the driving compartment. The batteries required to drive the vehicle are housed within the depth of the trailer and have the capacity of an Audi E-tron. The remaining batteries equal to three Audi E Tron battery packs in the main ambulance chassis, below the floor level. The ambulance weight is now under the limit of 3.5 tons. The law states that you can drive a vehicle weighing 3.5 tons while pulling a trailer weighing 750 kilos. We now have an electric ambulance that can be driven legally without the need for a HGV C1 license.
To eliminate the need for long periods of charging downtime we can utilise the trailer concept. If each ambulance depot had a charging station that had a second battery trailer on constant charge, we could simply replace one depleted trailer for another. This is the concept behind the INTEGRO-E.
Based on the above concept we now have a fully electric ambulance that can be driven on a standard B license that doesn’t have any downtime for recharging.
The INTEGRO-E has roughly one quarter of its E-Tron batteries in the trailer, this is the same number as the Audi E Tron and the remaining three quarters positioned within the depth of the chassis rails. The vehicle is fitted with a regenerative braking and gear change system that during town driving puts almost as much charge back into the batteries as the driving process takes out. The power can be taken or switched between vehicle and trailer to extend the vehicle range.
Changing the trailer is a fully automatic process. The ambulance simply backs up to the charging station docking port and the driver presses a trailer release button. The tailgate opens and the hydraulic trailer ram is activated, pushing the trailer out to a fixed point whereby the jockey wheel extends down and the locking pin is released. The ambulance then drives forwards and reverses onto the next charged trailer. The trailer attach button is pressed and the ram extends to the trailer and the locking pin is dropped. The ram pulls the charged trailer into the chassis and the jockey wheel retracts. Once the trailer is secured the tailgate is closed and the vehicle drives off.
The whole process takes around four minutes. The depleted trailer is pulled into the charging station onto a charging point which moves the trailers up to charge and across to the pickup point where they are lowered ready for collection. The charging station size is determined by the number of trailer housed in it.
We estimate that the INTEGRO-E would have a range of 190 miles of battery trailer power alone before the trailer required changing, but the main battery pack in the ambulance is estimated to give up to a 3000 mile range. This is a result of the clever regenerative system designed into the braking system and gearbox. The later generating power when the gearbox changes down through a series of four specially designed electric motors which feed electrical power back to the batteries to replace the charge used in accelerating.
All paramedics employed by the NHS have C1 HGV licences So the 4.250 ton limit is irrelevant
For these paramedics we have the INTEGRO-ER, meaning extended range. This ambulance retains the detachable trailer concept and looks exactly the same as the ACESO / INTEGRO-E. We have merely installed more batteries to extend the vehicles range. These are all housed in the main vehicles chassis as we now have a total vehicle weight of up to 7.5 tons.
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