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Emergency services give frontline role to Nissan LEAF

The EV is being deployed as community support vehicles by emergency services in Portugal, France, UK and Switzerland, with a number of other countries considering making the switch to battery power in 2013.

Jean-Pierre Diernaz, director of electric vehicles, Europe, said: ‘Emergency first responders and law enforcement communities rely heavily on their vehicles. The fact that so many forces across Europe are choosing Nissan LEAF for urban-based community support roles shows how significant zero emissions and low running costs – fuel and maintenance – have become.

‘As well as helping to save the environment, vastly reduced fuel bills mean a fleet of Nissan LEAFs can make a serious contribution to a bottom line, making budget savings that can be reinvested in supporting the communities in which they serve.’

The first responders have all said the car's zero emissions were the most important motivation for the switch from conventional petrol and diesel cars.

The first force in the world to go electric was Portugal's PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública), which has been running eight Nissan LEAFs as part of its Safe School Program for the last year. Fitted with blue flashing lights, sirens and clear “Polícia” markings they can also perform other police duties at any time.

Superintendent Paul Gomes Valente, national director of PSP, said: ‘We pride ourselves in being the first police force in the world to incorporate cars with zero-emission technology as part of our 5,000-vehicle fleet. We want to continue contributing to the reduction in pollution in large urban centres and the introduction of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF sets a new benchmark for our fleet.’

In the UK, West Midlands Police have placed an order for 30 Nissan LEAFs for use by its officers to visit victims of crime and attend other pre-arranged meetings as ‘diary cars.' Averaging around 70km a day – well within a full charge range – these LEAFs allow the force to free-up its vehicle fleet for other vital crime-fighting duties.

Bob Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Police said: ‘The LEAFs fit in perfectly with our operational requirements and will significantly cut our fuel costs while also reducing our carbon footprint.’

Meanwhile, to accommodate its new fleet of Nissan LEAFs, the UK's County Durham Fire and Rescue Service has ensured its new headquarters currently under construction at Belmont, Country Durham, is EV friendly. Three charging points are planned as the service looks to further expand its environmental commitment by adding more electric vehicles to its fleet.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.

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