Attention gearheads! Pictured here is Ford’s new hybrid police cruiser. It’s also pursuit-rated. If you are a gearhead of the big right foot variety, be on the lookout for this car. Maintain situational awareness at all times and know your enemy.
In all seriousness, it’s actually no big deal for lead-footed gearheads out there. So Ford made a hybrid cop car. Functionally, it means nothing to getting a ticket. It still looks like a cop car and, as far as I’m concerned, if you can’t spot a cop in time to slow down, you should get a ticket anyway. Pay attention, dingus!
What is cool, however, is that Ford is very serious about its hybrid technology; serious enough to deploy it across a broad spectrum of uses. Ford is dropping $4.5 billion and rolling out 13 new electric vehicles world-wide over the next five years, including an F-150 and Mustang hybrid, Transit Custom plug-in hybrid, and a supposed “self- driving hybrid.” An all electric small SUV with a projected range of at least 300 miles is also planned. Finally, we have the industry’s first pursuit-rated hybrid police car, the all-new Police Responder Hybrid Sedan.
They continually hit on that “pursuit-rated” bit. Pursuit cop cars are different from your run of the mill cruisers and prowlers. Cruisers and prowlers are what you see tooling around your city and can, in a pinch, be counted upon to chase after bad guys for a mile or two. Pursuit cop cars, on the other hand, are designed from the get-go to chase after and maintain contact with a suspect vehicle at high speeds for extended distances. State Patrol cars are almost always pursuit-rated. They are the hot rods of the cop car motor pool, featuring such goodies as uprated shocks, struts, sway-bars, and brakes as well as beefed up transmissions and differentials, along with heavy duty oil and transmission coolers. Pursuit cop cars are built to go flat out from Butte to Billings and back without breaking a sweat.
FoMoCo rolled out the all-new Police Responder Hybrid Sedan in Los Angeles and New York recently. An admittedly odd choice for a hot rod, but it plays to the other; some would say the real strength of the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan: it gets great gas mileage. Cop cars are usually big fat sedans to begin with. On top of that, you need a back seat large enough to stuff perps into, plus you need a trunk for all your ancillary gear, plus a front seat with room for all the radios, cameras, computers, SCMODS links, that big, bad, vertically mounted pump-action shotgun and two coffee swilling, doughnut absorbing peace officers sworn to serve and protect.
Or to be more succinct, cop cars are already heavy and inefficient to begin with.
The Police Responder Hybrid Sedan will help cities lower emissions and offer potential fuel savings, both while driving and idling. A city’s fleet can drink fuel like it were free, so the cost savings could be very great indeed, and cutting down on the emissions from all those cop cars, idling or otherwise, could be just the cherry on top. Ford says their patented hybrid technology is forecasted to deliver a combined figure of 38 miles per gallon, which is more than double that of today’s Police Interceptor. It could mean a police force’s fuel budget/savings just effectively got doubled.
While the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is idling, its lithium-ion battery helps power the high electrical loads of a police vehicle, reducing engine run time and saving an estimated 0.27 gallons of fuel per hour. Cities that buy Police Responder Hybrid Sedans could see nearly $3,900 a year in fuel savings per vehicle relative to the (possibly outgoing) Police Interceptor. Ford also provides an online fuel calculator that allows customers to determine how much they may potentially save. Handy, no?
The Police Responder Hybrid Sedan uses one of those weird but cool Atkinson-cycle, 2.0-liter engines, mated to an electric motor fed by the lithium-ion battery pack. The hybrid system itself is tuned for law enforcement’s unique duty cycle and can run in battery-only mode up to 60 mph. Ford makes no mention of what the 0 to 60 times are, but using just electrics alone, this thing could detonate to that speed very promptly. Ford does say the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan automatically switches to maximum performance with the engine and battery working at peak acceleration levels when needed.
The Police Responder Hybrid Sedan can be ordered this spring and will be delivered to police departments nationwide next summer. Keep your eyes peeled!
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.