Winnebago at the Intersection of Alt Fuels and the Surgery Room

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Winnebago Industries Inc. has delivered the first all-electric mobile surgical instrument lab (eMSIL) to University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Health Center. The zero-emission mobile medical unit will travel between UCLA’s Ronald Reagan and Santa Monica campuses to collect, clean, repair, disinfect and sterilize surgical suite instruments.

Built by Winnebago and Motiv Power Systems, the vehicle is expected to save the health center $750,000 a year, traveling between two hospitals to clean and sterilize surgical equipment, compared to contracting with an off-site, third-party provider to do the work.

“We applaud UCLA for its innovative application of a mobile medical unit to transform a critical and costly service, normally fixed in a building, into one that can be transported to any location,” says Ashis Bhattacharya, Winnebago’s vice president of business development, specialty vehicles and advanced technology.

As a mobile unit, the eMSIL is a turnkey solution for receiving, decontaminating, preparing, packaging, sterilizing and distributing nearly any type of surgical equipment hospitals use. It was built by Winnebago Specialty Vehicles and one of its preferred commercial EV platform upfitters, Summit Bodyworks. The eMSIL is powered by an all-electric EPIC F-53 33-foot chassis from Motiv Power Systems.

The eMSIL is designed to hold enough battery charge for eight hours of typical service, plus round-trip travel to and from its home facility. The vehicle has completed significant road testing and delivers an expected range of 85 to 125 miles on a full charge.

Like all specialty vehicles, the eMSIL is eligible for service at more than 300 Winnebago locations across the U.S.

The eMSIL is based on the standard Winnebago J33SE all-electric commercial shell platform, which earlier this year won a Sustainability Award by the RV Industry Association (RVIA) for its efforts in bringing an all-electric option to this vehicle segment. 

A portion of the funds used to purchase of the UCLA eMSIL were provided by the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), a California Air Resources Board (CARB) program administered by clean transportation accelerator CALSTART and funded with cap-and-trade proceeds through California Climate Investments (CCI).

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Coming from an RVer perspective, I think this is a great step, especially since it’s Winnebago who did it. The range falls well short of what I would need in an EV motorhome, but it’s a start. Because of the charge time required, I would want an electric motorhome to have a range comparable to or greater than that of a diesel pusher with a 100 gallon fuel tank. Refueling a diesel motorhome is a relatively quick task and there are no access issues; just use the truck lanes at truck stops. Public charging stations are not set up to… Read more »