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Can All Emergency Service Vehicles Be Electrified?

Whether you’re just starting your electrification journey or well on your way, it is vital to understand which blue light vehicles you can switch to electric vehicles (EV).

emergency services

Fleet electrification represents a huge challenge for emergency services, due to how blue light vehicles are used.  

Looking at the big picture, electrification can seem daunting – but there are suitable roles for EVs in emergency services fleets right now. It’s important to start the EV transition with these vehicles now, but which blue light vehicles can be electrified? 

Here are some front-line support vehicles that can be electrified: 


Company cars: Pool cars for travel are perfect for electrification, and in many cases, the same is true of company cars used by community workers or senior management. While you can quite quickly embark on electrifying your pool vehicles, you might need to work on incentivising colleagues to switch their company vehicles to EVs or adopt an “EV-only” company car policy. 

Community outreach: Vehicles that are engaged in community work are likely to be on relatively low and predictable mileage, making them ideal for switching to EV. This could be anything from educational teams in the fire and police services to patient transport buses for the NHS 

Support services: This encompasses a wide range of applications from police forensic vehicles to the vans of the estates management teams on a large NHS campus. 

Here are some key points to ensure emergency vehicles stay charged: 


Getting educated: In September, Mer held a free webinar specifically for anyone in the emergency services who was interested in learning more about procuring the right EV infrastructure. You can watch the full webinar for more information on electrifying blue light fleets.

Planning and deployment: Proper planning and deployment of EV charging is a vital pillar in any fleet electrification strategy.  

Installing infrastructure: The infrastructure to power blue light fleets can often be complex, so it’s crucial that fleet managers understand the fundamentals.  

Mer is one of Europe’s largest EV charging providers and has extensive experience in supporting blue light fleets with their transitions to electric vehicles. In the UK, Mer has worked with Northumbria Police and London Ambulance Service in this capacity.  

To begin your electrification journey, start by eliminating those vehicles that simply cannot switch to EVs just yet due to their operational requirements. The reality for the rapid response elements of your fleet is that electric probably is not suitable now – but will be in the future.  

EVs work best on predictable duty cycles, meaning the fleet manager knows how far they travel each shift, and when they’ll be parked up so they can be recharged. 

Conversely, the work of rapid response vehicles is by nature very unpredictable, and they need to be ready to deploy at almost any moment. In addition, they might have to cover large distances at high speeds, which is not a use case for most EVs. Police cars could be in high-speed pursuits for hours, while a rural ambulance might have to travel considerable distances to collect a patient and bring them to A&E. The higher your speed, the faster an EV drains its battery. The other side to this equation is, how can you accurately predict when and for how long a vehicle will be available for recharging the batteries? It might return from one task only to be immediately assigned another. 

Mission-critical vehicles cannot afford losses in performance capabilities. Emergency services fleet operators need complete confidence that an electric vehicle is up to the task and can cope with whatever is thrown at it. That simply is not the case yet, but this problem is likely to be solved soon. A new generation of batteries, known as solid state, offers significant improvements over the current lithium-ion technology and will help make EVs more viable for these front-line duties. 

After removing these vehicles from the pool of potential candidates for switching to EV, what is left? The short answer is, quite a lot! If you can understand the range a vehicle needs on any given day, and sufficient time offline in every 24-hour period to recharge the batteries, then that vehicle can be electrified. 

For emergency services fleets, electrification is all about understanding the logistics of the operation.  

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