Netcare 911 opts for cleaner high-performance emergency vehicles

Performance, safety and environmental impact are critical considerations

Tuesday, March 31 2015

Netcare 911 is in the process of replacing its current fleet of Volkswagen 1.4 Golf 6 TSI petrol emergency response vehicles with the new diesel Volkswagen 2.0 Golf 7 TDI DSG BlueMotion.

Craig Grindell, chief operating officer (COO) of Netcare 911, says the change is in line with the company’s ongoing focus on improving safety and performance. “It is critical that our ambulances and response vehicles reach the scene of an emergency safely and quickly. In an emergency situation every second counts and the sooner we can get to a patient the better the chance we have of saving their life or improving their outcome. Netcare 911 is constantly looking at ways it can better its response times while reducing its environmental footprint. The introduction of new technologies such as the Golf 7 is assisting us in reaching these goals.”

Grindell indicates that reducing the environmental impact of the Netcare 911 vehicles has become an increasingly important consideration. “We have a large number of vehicles operating throughout the country and it is vital that they perform with greater efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. The improved fuel efficiency of the Golf 7 allows us to reduce both operational costs and our environmental impact.”

Grindell says the engine of the Golf 7 offers as good performance and power as its predecessor. Indeed increased torque offers better drivability and flexibility. The vehicle comes with the revolutionary DSG dual clutch gearbox, which, with automated gear changes, offers the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the fuel consumption and performance benefits of a manual. It is a smoother driving experience that reduces driver fatigue, particularly important for the Netcare 911 first responder paramedics who operate these vehicles and need to be at their sharpest when navigating the traffic or poor road conditions.

The Golf 7, which was named ‘World Car of the Year 2013’ at the New York International Auto Show, has a number of novel safety features. The multi-collision brake is newly developed technology, which triggers automatic emergency braking when an initial collision is detected, reducing the risk of possible follow-on accidents. It gives drivers the chance to re-gather their thoughts after striking, for example, a crash barrier, and helps to prevent them from going on to collide with oncoming traffic. Among a number of other safety and high performance features in the new Golf 7 is XDS, an advanced electronic differential lock, which greatly reduces under-steer, and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist. The vehicle has a whiplash optimised head restraint system and seven airbags, which come standard.

Jaco du Preez, Netcare 911’s regional operations manager, north east region, says the VW T5 ambulances in the Netcare 911 fleet are also currently changing to the new DSG dual clutch gearbox which will give the ambulances a smoother drive, improving patient comfort and, as in the Golf 7, assist in reducing driver fatigue.

The new diesel engines in the Golf 7 provide lower emissions and better fuel economy and the diesel exhaust is less toxic than that of a petrol engine. A start-stop and recuperation system is standard in the Golf 7. This feature both saves fuel and reduces CO2 emissions as the vehicle’s engine turn off and go to ‘sleep’ when it is idling at stops. The engine kicks back into life as soon as the accelerator of the vehicle is pressed.
The Golf 7 is also up to 100kg lighter than its predecessor, which is achieved through improvements in design and results in significant fuel savings of up to 17% compared to the 1.4 Golf 6.

Grindell says that nothing is more important to Netcare 911 than the safety of its patients and staff. The company is also committed to reducing its footprint on the environment to the benefit of all South Africans. “We will continue to seek new ways to operate more efficiently and to minimise our impact on the environment,” he stresses.

Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Beswick or Jillian Penaluna
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]