Taxi drivers all over the world have a reputation for ruthless and aggressive driving habits. One Russian cabbie got more than he bargained for in late January, however, when he decided to mix it up with an on-duty ambulance.
When we saw a note about a recall for the Ford Focus Electric, our first reaction was, "is that a new one? Because it's getting hard to tell." This year, we've already seen the Blue Oval's all-electric hatch recalled for non-working door chimes and a "wiring incompatibility" in the headlights. The car is also reportedly under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the "Stop Safely Now" issue.
The International Association of Firefighters, Local No. 36, Washington, D.C.'s firefighter union chapter, is concerned about the alarming number of breakdowns in the District's ambulance fleet and recommends investigations into its state of disrepair, implying that D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe should be held responsible.
When Eli Beer was a child in Jerusalem, he witnessed a bus explode in a terror attack. This brutal awakening to the violence around his home led him into the medical field, starting as an EMT at 15 years old. In Jerusalem. That takes guts for anyone, let alone a 15-year-old kid.
Every minute matters when life is on the line. That's why ambulances exist and why we all (well, most of us, anyway) pull over when we see their flashing lights and hear sirens coming our way. And it's also why ambulances need to be as reliable as possible, with maintenance kept up so that they are in perfect working order at all times.
We're not sure how widespread the practice is, but the option is apparently out there: Russian police have discovered companies on the Internet offering rides in "ambulance-taxis" through notoriously bad Moscow traffic. For roughly 6,000 rubles per hour – about $193 US, which doesn't sound like much for a wealthy Russian – the 'customer' will get to cut through gridlock in an ambulance with flashing lights and the proper paint scheme outside but a refitted, leather-lined interior.
You want to know what car guys do in the Midwest? Look above. That's the Ambivalence. In another dimension, it was a mild-mannered Ford Econoline E-350 ambulance doing laps in "Northern Ohio meth-country." Car and Driver, claiming to be seeking nothing more than "a cheap diesel," took possession of it and had it wrapped by the folks at Avery Denison with graphics that closely resemble the ambulance from Cannonball Run (right).
With the current limitations (no pun intended) of battery-electric vehicles like the Th!nk City, one of the last places we'd expect to see one operating is as an ambulance. After all, when life is on the line, top speed and range suddenly become of paramount concern. On the other hand, our health is affected by the emissions of cars and trucks, so any way to reduce fuel consumption and pollution is a positive thing.
A Spanish ambulance company in the city of Zaragoza, Ambuibérica, is trying out bifuel vehicles to transport patients. The 10 Mercedes-sourced vehicles use bifuel powertrains that can burn both natural gas and gasoline. Turns out, the drivers aren't too happy with these models: they criticize the van's short, 250-km range (about 140 miles), lack of natural gas availability in town and lower speed compared to the diesel counterparts. While the city of Zaragoza itself has some natural gas f