Ford has introduced the new Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, a pursuit-rated vehicle to help law enforcement officials patrol the streets in an environmental-conscious manner.

The Los Angeles Police Department announced that they would acquire the vehicle, becoming one of the first agencies to test Ford’s new car. The Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is a Ford Fusion that has been upgraded by Ford engineers. The new features include an upgraded suspension, the addition of different tires and wheels, the attachment of a skid plate and alteration of the seats, so police officers have room for utility belts. The sedan will also have an anti-stab plate to protect officers from sharp tools coming from the back seat.

Ford’s new Police Responder Hybrid Sedan. Image credit: Ford Media.

Ford’s Police Responder car is pursuit-rated

The car has already won its world-first “pursuit-rated” status when it was tested by Michigan State Police and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, according to Ford.

The Police Responder is driven by Ford’s 2.0-liter, it has a four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor which is powered by a 1.4-kilowatt lithium ion battery. According to Ford, that combination will get an EPA-estimated 38 miles per gallon, almost double of the miles per gallon that the Interceptor, Ford’s current police vehicle, spends.

The Responder will have a maximum performance mode that allows the car to use the full power of the hybrid system to accelerate faster when the accelerator is held at 100 percent for five seconds. Image credit: Ford Media.

The idea behind the Responder is that the batteries in the car will allow the engine to shut down briefly while keeping the other electronic systems in the car running. Ford says that the car can save 0.27 gallons per hour of idle running. It will also ensure pursuits conducted by police officers, thanks to the upgraded suspension, tires, wheels and brakes.

The Responder could be as good as Ford’s Interceptor police vehicle

Ford hasn’t disclosed all the specifications of the new Police Responder vehicle. Arie Groeneveld, from Ford’s police programs department, said the Responder would accelerate from zero to 60 mph, almost the same rate as the Interceptor police vehicle.

The Interceptor outscored other police cars in 2016. In one of the tests, the Interceptor reached 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, beating Dodge’s Charger police vehicle which reached 60 in 6.6 seconds and Chevrolet’s Caprice police car, that lasted 6.7 seconds.

Ford has been dominating the police car business for years now. The Crown Victoria police vehicle has been one of the most demanded police cars. To the date, Ford claims 63 percent of the U.S. patrol pie, and it sells over 32,000 Interceptors every year. Image credit: Ford Media.

Ford has not unveiled the vehicle’s pricing either, but hybrid cars tend to cost more than regular vehicles. Ford executives said that all the fuel saved from the car should make up for the higher cost within a year.

“Cities have been asking us for solutions to reduce carbon emissions and costs, and agencies have been asking for greener police cars and greener pursuit vehicles,” said Kevin Koswick, Ford director of lease and remarking operations, according to the LA Times. “We saw a need, and we thought we could fulfill it.”

The Police Responder will go into production early next year. LAPD estimates that they could be driving the vehicle by late 2018. The police department has not informed how much hybrid cars they will acquire, although Josh Rubenstein, Public Information Director, said the LAPD is committed to purchasing 300 hybrid and hybrid electric plug-in vehicles by 2020.

Rubenstein also said that the LAPD would build charging stations and infrastructure needed to support the hybrid cars. He added that the police department is committed to deploying battery electric vehicles in some divisions within the next five years.

The Police Responder is part of Ford’s plan to invest $4.5 billion in automobile electrification. Other cars scheduled to emerge from that project are a hybrid Mustang, a hybrid F-150 pickup truck. The program plans to develop 13 new electric vehicles.

LA’s commitment to electric duty vehicles

In 2016, BMW announced that it had won a contract with the LAPD to supply 100 of its i3 electric cars. The decision came after the launch of LA’s initiative “Sustainable City pLAn,” which included a commitment to make half of its duty vehicle purchases entirely electric by 2017.

The i3 was scheduled to be used in a non-emergency capacity, which means that they would not be used for high-speed police chases, but for basic transportation needs for the department and community outreach. The LAPD is already using the i3s in Los Angeles streets.

Source: Los Angeles Times