All 18 vehicles have been transformed for paramedics in the south-west of England.

18 Skoda Kodiaq family SUVs have become ambulances in one of the Czech brand’s most dramatic specialist vehicle conversions.

The company supplied the vehicles to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), which will use them to ferry its clinical team to call-outs. The transformation from family 4x4 to ambulance service workhorse was made by Halls Electrical Ltd, which carried out a huge range of modifications.

Not only did the vehicles need blue lights and a new livery, but a team of engineers had to completely redesign the car’s interior. The main 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system was moved to the passenger side to make way for a new screen that houses 999 call information, while two of the rear seats were stripped away.

In their place, Halls Electrical fitted a fire extinguisher and a combination safe for storing controlled drugs, while the 720-liter boot was completely re-designed. Fitted with a range of storage compartments, the boot will be used to house life-saving equipment.

Other modifications included additional power supplies, an auxiliary battery and the associated split charging system required to keep it topped up. There's also mains shoreline capability, allowing the car to plug into mains electricity.

Robin Gwinnett, the learning and development manager for South Western Ambulance Service, said the Kodiaq was chosen for the task for its interior space and the off-road capability provided by its four-wheel-drive system.

“We have chosen the Skoda Kodiaq as our operational officer vehicle because of the space available for the specialist and technical equipment required by this staff group,” he said. “The vehicle offers the level of safety and comfort that our crews demand from operational vehicles. It blends excellent on-road handling characteristics with enough off-road performance for the majority of the situations our operations officers face on a daily basis.”

Meanwhile, Rob Hughes, the technical director at Halls Electrical, said his company had turned the family SUV into a “cost-effective” vehicle for the ambulance service.

“Working closely with the fleet department and operational commanders from SWASFT, we have produced a compliant, cost-effective solution to fully meet the requirements of this wide-ranging and complex role,” he said.

This is not the first time Skoda’s vehicles have been enlisted for so-called “blue-light” duty. Ambulance services around the country have used Octavia estates, and the Kodiaq vRS was last year offered to police forces. Skoda is also offering blue-light services other vehicles in the range, such as the Superb.

Gallery: Skoda Kodiaq Ambulance

Hide press releaseShow press release

ŠKODA KODIAQ TRANSFORMED INTO SPECIALIST VEHICLE FOR THE SOUTH WESTERN AMBULANCE SERVICE

  • ŠKODA Kodiaq underwent specialist conversion to be ready for operational duty for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
  • The operational commanders took delivery of 18 Kodiaqs
  • The SUV will be on duty 24/7 and its 4x4 capability was an essential requirement to meet the team’s clinical and operational demands across the region, which represents one fifth of the land mass in England
  • Conversion includes full emergency lighting and sirens along with a custom rear storage solution that meets infection control criteria along with full mobile communications and MDT systems

Milton Keynes, 23 January 2020 – ŠKODA has supplied a fleet of Kodiaqs to South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), which have undergone one of the brand’s most ambitious conversions to date. The operational commanders required a bespoke conversion that involved elements such as moving the brand’s 9.2” infotainment screen on to the passenger’s side, a fully converted storage area for equipment, additional power supplies, auxiliary battery, split charging and mains shoreline capability.

SWASFT has taken delivery of 18 Kodiaqs that have been converted by ŠKODA’s approved partner, Halls Electrical Ltd. A fully qualified team of engineers modified the seven-seat SUV for the ambulance service to meet the operational requirements of its clinical team. The Kodiaq’s vast interior space enabled the team to make numerous design and operational changes.

One of the main elements to the new design is the inclusion of a second screen in the centre console and the movement of the existing infotainment system to be positioned above the glove box. The new screen houses important information relating to 999 calls. The ŠKODA infotainment system has full functionality with features such as Sat Nav, DAB radio and SmartLink+.

The 720-litre boot has been re-designed to house essential life-saving equipment and offer plenty of storage compartments. In the rear, two seats have been removed to provide additional space for equipment, a fire extinguisher as well as an in-built combination safe for storing controlled drugs.

Robin Gwinnett, Learning and Development Manager for South Western Ambulance Service, commented: “We have chosen the ŠKODA Kodiaq as our operational officer vehicle because of the space available for the specialist and technical equipment required by this staff group. The vehicle offers the level of safety and comfort that our crews demand from operational vehicles. It blends excellent on-road handling characteristics with enough off-road performance for the majority of the situations our operations officers face on a daily basis.”

Rob Hughes, Halls Electrical Technical Director, added: “Working closely with the fleet department and operational commanders from SWASFT, we have produced a compliant, cost effective solution to fully meet the requirements of this wide ranging and complex role.”

Bespoke conversions for emergency service fleets can be provided through ŠKODA’s ‘one-stop’ shop package. Alongside hassle-free finance solutions, ŠKODA fleet can provide the vehicles fully converted to suit specific requirements, and fleet managers have the peace of mind that the conversion, breakdown recovery, service, maintenance and repair requirements are built into one package.