Ford’s Police Responder Hybrid provides a high-profile way for police departments across the country to dramatically increase the efficiency of their fleets while reducing their carbon footprint. Based on Ford’s efficient Fusion Hybrid, this first-ever pursuit rated hybrid police car has been rigorously tested by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police, the two agencies that rate pursuit vehicles for police departments across the country. It is distinguished as Green Car Journal’s 2018 Commercial Green Car of the Year.
The front-wheel drive police vehicle is powered by a 141 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine combined with an 88-horsepower electric motor. The Atkinson-cycle offers higher fuel efficiency at the expense of some conventional power loss at low speeds, although the electric motor makes up for lost low speed output. The Police Responder Hybrid is expected to earn an estimated combined 38 mpg.
A total of 188-horsepower is available when top performance is required. After five seconds of hard driving, the car automatically shifts into pursuit mode for maximum acceleration. It can jump 8-inch curbs and railroad crossings at speed, ford 18 inches of water at 15 mph and 10 inches at 40 mph, and handle Hollywood-style J-turns. The Police Responder Hybrid is intended mostly for urban use.
The electric motor runs on power from an advanced lithium-ion battery that enables electric-only driving at up to 60 mph. The motor also serves as a generator during braking and coast-down to feed energy back to the batteries. The Police Responder Hybrid features an electric-only stealth mode capability, although this is limited to a just a few miles by its 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. Hybrid operation brings another significant advantage for law enforcement duty. When parked, the battery pack allows the engine to shut off for brief periods while keeping all the car’s electronics running, which saves fuel and decreases emissions.
Ford’s Police Responder Hybrid has upgraded suspension, wheels, tires, and brakes to be pursuit rated and has also met vehicle dynamics and safety standards such as 75 mph rear-end crash testing. It features better engine cooling, an upgraded electrical system, center console pre-drilled holes to accommodate police equipment, and skid plates underneath to protect mechanical components. The interior has been modified for police use with front seat cushions shaped to accommodate equipment belts and gun holsters.
There are other modifications including anti-stab plates in the front seatbacks, a movable rotary gear shift dial that can be relocated within the car depending on department needs, a certified speedometer, additional power distribution in the trunk, and heavy-duty front door tethers. The back seat area has been designed without seatback or door pockets where a suspect could hide contraband or weapons. Upholstery is easy-to-clean vinyl.
In addition, Ford is now offering its new police Special Service Plug-In Hybrid Sedan for non-pursuit use, an application that could be ideal for detectives, police chiefs, and other government personnel. The model uses a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that delivers up to 21 miles on a charge, plus the ability to drive up to 85 mph exclusively on batteries. Its overall range on battery and internal combustion power is over 500 miles. Given the typical use of a detective or police chief vehicle, the Special Service Plug-In Hybrid Sedan is the first Ford police vehicle with the potential for working a full shift without using any gasoline.
Next up is Ford’s Police Interceptor Utility hybrid that’s due to go on sale next summer. At a projected 24 mpg, the electrified model is expected to deliver at least 40 percent better fuel economy than its existing 3.7-liter V-6 Police Interceptor Utility counterpart, with the hybrid offering quicker acceleration and a higher top speed. Fuel economy gains and reduced idling time are expected to save police departments an estimated $3,200 per vehicle over the course of a year, plus significantly decrease carbon and tailpipe emissions.