Spartan Chassis, Inc., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPAR), today introduced a new Non-Emergency Ambulance Transport (NEAT) vehicle at the American Ambulance Association annual conference in Las Vegas (Booth #10-11). The NEAT vehicle is a low-cost transport vehicle designed for the growing medical/handicap/transport/taxi market, where the patient is not in critical condition and services can be reimbursed by health care providers and the federal government.
"Traditional ambulances are often the vehicle of choice for health-related or disability transportation, but they are an expensive and often less flexible option," said John Sztykiel, President and CEO of Spartan Motors. "With 11,000 people turning 50 years old each day and over 60 million people considered to be handicapped in the U.S., the NEAT is an ideal, fully equipped vehicle to serve this large and growing population."
Spartan developed the NEAT using a Ford Transit Connect. The NEAT retains many of the qualities that have made the Transit Connect the preferred platform for a variety of retrofits. Features of the NEAT include dual sliding doors, street-smart maneuverability, low-vehicle height, and a 2.0 Duratec I-4 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission. The NEAT offers best-in-class fuel economy, providing up to 25 mpg on the highway. Spartan transformed the 135 cu. ft. cargo area of the vehicle to create a non-emergency transport vehicle that still offers rescue and emergency response capabilities.
"Our goal with the NEAT was to create an affordable, dependable solution for the organizations that provide this valuable service to the elderly and handicapped in our communities," said Sztykiel. "The NEAT is a well designed, versatile and functional vehicle that offers both the service provider and the passenger a comfortable, car-like ride along with the peace of mind that comes from knowing the vehicle has all of the necessary equipment to deal with a variety of medical emergencies that may occur in transit."
The NEAT includes such features as a fully functional attendant seat with safety harness/seatbelt, gurney locking system for travel mode, oxygen bottle storage and delivery system (all of which will be FMVSS/KKK compliant), suction system, Sharps container, overhead dual level lighting, medical glove storage area, multiple other storage areas, master control panel, waste basket, and fire extinguisher. An optional DVD player for long transport mode operation has also been engineered in to provide an improved atmosphere for the patient. Additionally, depending on requirements, the unit can also transport a wheel chair (in a stowed position). By using lightweight materials Spartan is able to offer the maximum amount of benefits including the ability to carry three people (two crew and one patient), while still maintaining the weight of the overall vehicle well within the Ford guidelines. All of this was accomplished without the need to drill any holes into the Ford body or cut into the Ford wiring. An added benefit to the Spartan design is that in a non-transport mode the attendant can ride in the standard Ford passenger seat located next to the driver.
"The NEAT will be available for less than $50,000, thus it's low acquisition cost and low operating cost (excellent fuel economy), make it a very exciting concept," said Sztykiel.