Hybrid Police Cars To Save GasTop Stories

April 10, 2017 13:35
Hybrid Police Cars To Save Gas

Next time, as the cops chase you down for speeding, the cops could be driving a fuel-efficient gas-electric hybrid cars. Ford Motor Co., which sells more police cars in the United States than any other automaker, said it will offer a police pursuit version of the hybrid Fusion midsize sedan, in response to the requests from cities nationwide. The new hybrid car, with its 2-Liter four-cylinder engine and also with 1.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery, is expected to get 38 miles per gallon of gas with combined city-highway driving. That is 20 mpg more than Ford's current police car, the Taurus police interceptor.

New hybrids may not be as fast as the Taurus with the 3.7-Liter turbocharged V6, but Ford expects it to be quick enough to earn the pursuit rating when tested later in this year by the Michigan State Police and also by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, this is the first hybrid to earn that honor. To get a pursuit rating, cars have to perform well in the acceleration, handling, braking, top speed and ergonomics and also make the list of cars that the Michigan and Los Angeles agencies would buy.

As the throttle is held down for five seconds, car will go into the pursuit mode, using both the electric motor and the gas engine for the maximum performance, Ford said. The company also said the car will be durable for tough police duties.

Police cars spend much of their days idling by side of a road, and that is where the hybrid has a true advantage, said Ford. The gas engine will shut off at idle time with battery handling electrical load for the flashers, radios and  also for other items. The engine will restart to recharge the battery.

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Ford said that at $2.50 per gallon for gas, the new hybrid would save a police department $3,877 per a year in the fuel costs per vehicle. The price of the hybrid, available in the fall of the 2018, is not being released just yet.

Ford was to unveil the police car on Monday with a press conferences in the New York and Los Angeles. One already has been outfitted to look like the Los Angeles police cruiser.

While the big-city departments might be most interested in the fuel savings, the cars might also be appealing to the small departments.

Thomas Korabik, a chief of the 10-officer North Muskegon, Michigan Police Department, said that his city spends about $22,000 per year on the gasoline for four cruisers and would be interested in cutting that in half.

But he wonders if the Fusion is big enough inside to carry the computers, radios and other equipment. Many departments have switched to the SUVs to handle the equipment, said Korabik, who is also the president of Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.

Todd Soderquist, Ford's chief engineer for the Fusion Police Responder, conceded the car is smaller than the other cruisers outside. "Internally, you'll be surprised at how comparable they are," he said.

Mrudula Duddempudi.

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Hybrid cars  Ford  Police  Taurus  Los Angeles Top Story