Federal Transport Minister and Cologne’s City Director present vehicle

With the introduction of the first ambulance to be equipped with a purely electric drive, the Cologne Fire Brigade is taking an important step towards environmentally friendly emergency services. The vehicle was presented by City Director Andrea Blome and Federal Minister for Transport Dr Volker Wissing on Thursday, 12 October 2023, at Fire Station 2 in Marienburg.

Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Dr Volker Wissing: “I am honoured that we are jointly commissioning Cologne’s first electric ambulance today. The special vehicles are an important instrument for advancing electric mobility. In addition to climate-damaging emissions, their use reduces other harmful pollutants in urban traffic, which means they also make a noticeable contribution to improving the quality of life in the cities where they are used. They help make electric mobility more visible and more commonplace for all citizens. The changeover of special vehicles such as rescue and emergency vehicles to alternative drives is particularly challenging for municipalities. That’s why we support here where we can and are delighted about the commitment of the Cologne Fire Brigade to successfully take this step together.”

The electric rescue vehicle is one of 85 new ambulances for the Cologne rescue service that will successively replace the current vehicle fleet over the next four years via a framework supply agreement. With a total volume of 22.5 million euros, the order represents one of the largest municipal vehicle projects.

The additional costs of 119,000 euros incurred for the electric drive of the emergency vehicle will be covered by 80 percent via the Climate-friendly Commercial Vehicles Funding Programme (KsNI – Förderprogramm für klimaschonende Nutzfahrzeuge) of the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.

Cologne City Director, Andrea Blome: “With the electric ambulance, we are sending a strong signal for climate protection and are simultaneously demonstrating that efficient emergency services and sustainable mobility can go hand in hand. The new electric ambulance is not only emission-free, but also quieter than conventional vehicles. In addition, the emergency service personnel benefit from state-of-the-art technology.”

Over a total period of six years, the electric ambulance will be stationed at Fire and Rescue Station 2 in Marienburg. The location was chosen because it has the ideal test conditions due to the central city periphery with the overlap of the “inner city” operational area as well as the rural structured southern city districts. The intensive six-year test phase of the electric ambulance is intended to gather findings from practical operation in order to further expand the electrification of other emergency vehicles, not only in Cologne.

Furthermore, the Marienburg Fire and Rescue Station is to be expanded as a pilot e-station in the future. In addition to the electric ambulance, the electrically powered emergency vehicles currently being procured will also be stationed and tested here.

Photo: City of Cologne