UCLA Health and UCLA Transportation partner on first-of-its-kind zero-emissions mobile medical unit

UCLA’s streak of innovation is continuing into its second century, with the rollout of the world’s first battery-electric Mobile Surgical Instrument Lab. Commissioned by UCLA Health and built by UCLA Transportation's Fleet & Transit unit, the almost 40-foot long zero-emissions vehicle provides a clean environment for life-saving medical supplies. Commonly referred to as a hospital central nervous system, sterile services are crucial in fighting germs and delivering quality care.

UCLA Health’s original request was for a diesel engine mobile clinic. With the University of California system-wide goal of carbon neutrality, and UCLA Transportation’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources, Fleet & Transit collaborated with a conversion company in Colorado to build an alternative sustainable option.

The new addition to UCLA’s fleet is a first in the medical community and transportation industry: a battery-electric vehicle suited for urban and some rural application. It’s a much cleaner option for cases where idling or running an external generator for long periods of time is common.

This mobile medical unit can hold a charge up to eight hours of service for a range of 125 miles. It doubles the current productivity of the operation and will service the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, and other clinics, increasing access to critical surgical equipment.

By running on a clean fuel source, the unit saves $2,000 a year in maintenance costs, $1,300 a year in fuel, and comes with a major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In less than two years, the unit will pay for itself through these cost savings.

The Mobile Surgical Instrument Lab has already received kudos, being selected for an RV Industry Association Sustainability Award in the spring.