Only so often does an entirely new ambulance platform come on the scene. The current Ford Econoline based ambulances have been with us for over two decades now, and a lot has changed in the EMS industry, and indeed the world as a whole, during that time. A new ambulance platform is long overdue, one that will bring the EMS industry fully into the 21st century.
Ford’s new “One Ford” plan aims to integrate all of the company’s formerly separate divisions into one product line for the global market. Since the onset of the program, Ford’s new products have been taking the American automotive industry by storm, and soon it will be affecting the EMS world as well in the form of new Type II and Type III Ambulances.
For 2015, Ford is doing away with their long-standing Econoline vans, in favor of bringing over the much-acclaimed Ford Transit from the European market. The Ford Transit has been trusted with ambulance duty in countries around the world for generations, and is sure to bring some nice improvements over the Econoline models we’ve come to know.
Going with the times, engines have been downsized in the name of fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Gone are the big, thirsty V8s of old, in favor of smaller engines that do the same job with less wasted energy. That said, horsepower figures remain strong in the three engine options available, and the details are as follows:
- A 3.7L V6, similar to the one found in the Mustang, and it can be converted to run on compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas.
- Ford’s 3.5L Ecoboost V6, of Taurus SHO and F150 fame, that offers V8 power levels with V6 fuel economy (if you keep the turbos out of boost).
- A 3.2L 5-cylinder PowerStroke Turbo Diesel, sourced from Europe, that will offer by far the best fuel economy of the range.
The 3.2L diesel will likely be the favorite in ambulance applications, as traditionally has been the case in the EMS industry due to long periods of idling time during duty. Official US specifications have not yet been released , but the European Transit with the diesel 3.2L diesel makes 197hp and 347ft/lbs of torque. It is a little bit down on the massive 6.0L or 7.3L Power Stroke V8s of old in terms of raw power and torque, but its smaller size should make for better fuel efficiency, and leave more money in wallets of EMS companies at the end of the day.
As far those EMS professionals who will actually be using these ambulances in the field are concerned, the new Transit should offer some valuable improvements over the current Econoline lineup . A softer suspension is rumored, which will make things much safer and more livable for those riding in back, especially in urban areas with rough pavement. The new Transit will also handle better because of its more modern suspension architecture, making it more controllable when responding to an urgent call. Keep in mind that even the newest Econoline ambulances are still based on a platform from the early 1990s, so there was a lot of room to improve upon the chassis. Additionally, Type II Transit Ambulance configurations will have a higher roof, giving those in back more room to move about while tending to a patient.
We are very excited for the 2015 Ford Transit to arrive on the scene. For us, here at Global Emergency Vehicles, the Transit’s fantastic reputation from Europe along with its improved fuel economy should make it quite a hot seller when we start getting them in our inventory.