How a Scottish manufacturer is pioneering the world’s first electric fire engines

Read time: 2 min      Added: 06/06/2023

With support from us, Emergency One is revolutionising the firefighting industry with cutting-edge technology and sustainable solutions. 

Based in Cumnock, Ayrshire, Emergency One has supplied bespoke fire engines to fire authorities and private industrial customers across the UK for over 30 years. A recent product innovation has seen the business chart a new course.

In 2020, Emergency One launched the world’s first fully electric fire engine after undergoing a Management Buyout (MBO) with support from Bank of Scotland. The MBO has created six new shareholders, all of whom have worked their way up through the firm.

“Our success can be attributed to several factors, but the expertise and talent within the company has been key,” says Mike Madsen, Managing Director at Emergency One. “This is a very niche industry, so we have promoted from within, giving six of our younger engineers the opportunity to become shareholders and directors in the business.”

One of the first tests for the new leadership cohort was overcoming scepticism among the buyer group. While many customers have an environmental agenda and acknowledge the need to transition away from combustion engines by 2030, “it can be challenging to convince them that electric vehicles are a viable option,” says Steven Bell, Director at Emergency One.

To address this, the business has engaged with customers in various regions to showcase the capabilities of their electric fire engines. Steven emphasises that electric fire engines are more than just a "nice to have" innovation. 

The right support

Bank of Scotland has played a key role in the business’ expansion. “We have benefited from the global presence and expertise of a banking partner that understands both manufacturing and export,” says Mike Madsen. 

Mike and Steven are quick to praise the bank’s collaborative and consultative engagement, especially amid the complex trade requirements they face in some markets.

Mike says: “We value the day-to-day support we receive from the bank, particularly in terms of financial operations. As we expand into new markets, understanding payment processes and ensuring security in online transactions has become crucial. Bank of Scotland’s support on topics like security issues has proven to be highly useful in this regard.” 

Export growth

Going into the next 18 months, the UK remains a key focus but the business is committed to exploring niche markets and becoming a prominent player in providing environmentally friendly and specialised vehicles. While competitors may not be paying significant attention to this segment currently, Emergency One remains focused on being ahead of the curve and leading the industry in zero-emission firefighting solutions. 

Suzanne Stuart, Relationship Director, Mid Corporate added: “Emergency One’s commitment to sustainability and product development is inspiring and it was great to see them taking home 2 awards at the recent Made In Scotland event.

“Bank of Scotland is proud to support businesses like Emergency One that are helping to drive the Scottish economy and creating prosperity in their communities.”

Sustainable business

Sustainable business

Supporting UK businesses transition to low-carbon, sustainable business models and to pursue clean growth opportunities whilst reducing costs at the same time.

Visit our sustainability hub

Managing business costs and uncertainty

Managing business costs and uncertainty

Support, guidance and financial options to help you build financial resilience and manage the impact of rising costs and economic factors on doing business.

Help managing business costs