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Exploring the Feasibility of Electric Ambulances

Heikens, J (2017) Exploring the Feasibility of Electric Ambulances. Master's Thesis / Essay, Industrial Engineering and Management.

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This research explores the requirements to be set on electric vehicles (EVs) and their charging infrastructure in an EMS network with varying call and ambulance utilization patterns. To counter global warming and respond to depleting fossil fuels, it’s inevitable that EMS providers need to step away from conventional ambulances. With the current developments in EVs, this seems to be the most obvious solution. However, it’s found that range anxiety (the fear of running out of capacity) is the main factor that’s withholding EMS providers into acquiring EVs for their ambulance fleet. Hence, this research aims to overcome that anxiety by providing an overview of when an EV’s battery capacity and charging infrastructure are sufficient for replacing conventional ambulances in an EMS network with electric ambulances without suffering a performance loss. This research’s objective therefore is: To explore the requirements to be set on electric ambulances and their associated charging infrastructure to make them viable candidates for replacing conventional ambulances in the presence of alternative call patterns. To perform the research, the system parameters of an e-ambulance operated EMS network are first identified. It’s found that battery capacity, charge speed and charger locations are the most important system parameters that need their requirements determined. These requirements depend on the system’s call pattern (consisting of demand volume, location and type) and the ambulance utilization patterns. One of the system’s control parameters, the dispatch policy, can be altered to make ambulance utilization patterns more suitable for EVs. Next, a case study of the EMS network of Drenthe, The Netherlands, is used to classify ambulances into three groups based on their current call and utilization pattern and their opportunities to pool jobs with other ambulances without a significant performance loss. The EMS network of Drenthe is a varied system with some urban located ambulances in the larger cities, experiencing a high call frequency, short driving distances and their work radius is often covered by multiple ambulances, and several rural located ambulances, experiencing a lower (sometimes very low) call frequency, longer driving distances and often cover an area alone. Hence, ambulances in this network have varying call and utilization pattern and are classified accordingly: 9-hour shift ambulances operating in urban areas or rural areas with a low call frequency (<3 jobs per day) are classified as high potential, 24-hour ambulances in the same areas are classified as medium potential and 24-hour ambulances operating in rural areas with a medium call frequency (4-6 jobs per day) are classified as low potential. Finally, a simulation study is performed to explore the requirements to be set for e-ambulances replacing the conventional ambulances of the varying potential classes. The system parameters who’s requirements are to be determined are used as experimental factors, along with several alternative dispatch policies, resulting in a vast range of proposed e-ambulance operated EMS network designs. The results of this simulation study are analysed, discussed and generalised to make them applicable for EMS networks worldwide. It’s found that the ambulances that are classified with a high replacement potential can be replaced by EVs with a battery capacity of 80 kWh and a charging infrastructure of 11 kW chargers installed solely at the ambulance’s home base. Lower potential ambulances benefit, and become suitable to be replaced, from adjustments such as adding a range extender, installing additional chargers at hospitals or increasing the battery capacity. Finally, it’s found that ambulances operational in areas covered by multiple ambulances can adjust their dispatch policies to increase an ambulance’s replacement potential and lower the system parameter requirements to be set.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Industrial Engineering and Management
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:27
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:27

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