Fleet News

Volvo answers 999 plea with new V90

AN article on Fleet NewsNet two years ago which revealed that in mainland Europe, Volvo offered a stretched version of the then 960 estate equipped as an ambulance, rang alarm bells with a UK ambulance service. The January 9, 1998 article prompted Ian Wheatley, fleet engineer at Wiltshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, to contact Volvo urging the company to consider introducing the 960 version, now known as the V90, in the UK.

Now the V90 looks set to make inroads into the van-dominated sector after a series of trials with ambulance services across the country. Wiltshire has ordered 10 V90 ambulances and Oxfordshire Ambulance Service four, while ambulance crews in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Sussex are also testing the vehicles. Wheatley said: 'We now have an ambulance that provides the crew with saloon car comfort and the patient with all the medical back-up they get in a traditional van-type vehicle, but a much easier journey because of the enhanced ride and handling characteristics.

'Thanks to the Volvo's 3.0-litre engine, average response times have been cut by as much as six minutes compared to the Renault Master, which is the mainstay of our 80-vehicle fleet. It's all down to the Fleet NewsNet article and a bit of persuading Volvo on my part.' Volvo has just unveiled a new V70 estate car which will cost from £25,855 on-the-road when it goes on sale in March.

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