Ford's New Hybrid Police Sedan Doubles Fuel Efficiency

May 2017, Government Fleet - Feature

by Thi Dao - Also by this author

Ford revealed the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on April 10. Photo: Thi Dao
Ford revealed the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on April 10. Photo: Thi Dao

In April, Ford revealed its all-new Police Responder Hybrid Sedan at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters. Its hybrid concept car is part of Ford’s $4.5 billion global push for electrification. The Police Responder will be the first ­pursuit-rated hybrid vehicle and will be ideal for urban or local patrol work.

At a glance

The Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan features:

  • A Fusion-based platform
  • Reduced fuel use during driving and idling
  • Calibration specifically for police use.

Reducing Fuel Costs, Emissions

Public agencies looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or with mandates to purchase cleaner vehicles, usually exclude emergency response vehicles from any rulings. With the hybrid patrol vehicle available, however, police departments may now be included in the mix.

Greening initiatives aside, the main draw of a hybrid vehicle is to reduce fuel costs. The Police Responder is projected to get an EPA-estimated 38 mpg combined (40 mpg city/36 mpg highway), which Ford says is more than double the EPA-estimated rating of 18 mpg combined for the 3.7L Police Interceptor AWD gasoline sedan. The vehicle also reduces fuel consumption at idling — it powers its electrical load using the lithium-ion hybrid battery, allowing the gas engine to run less at idling as it is used to intermittently top off the battery.

With better mpg and more fuel-­efficient idling, the vehicle can save 1,550 gallons of gasoline per year. (Fleet managers can use an online calculator at www.fordpoliceresponder.com to estimate savings for their fleets.) Ford also highlighted fewer fill-ups, and hence less downtime, as an advantage for officers.

The Police Responder features a 2.0L I-4 Atkinson-cycle engine, an 88-kW electric A/C motor, and a 1.4-kW ­lithium-ion battery. The front-wheel-drive vehicle is based on a Fusion platform and is calibrated specifically for police use, said Tony Gratson, national government sales manager for Ford.

Equipment manufacturers will be invited to measure vehicle dimensions in order to design upfitting equipment for the Police Responder. Photo courtesy of Ford
Equipment manufacturers will be invited to measure vehicle dimensions in order to design upfitting equipment for the Police Responder. Photo courtesy of Ford

Designed for Local Patrol

Ford worked with its 25 Police Advisory Board members to get input on the vehicle, and there was a consensus that municipal police departments would most benefit from the hybrid. In fact, it’s a potential vehicle for some of the biggest police departments in the country.

The LAPD recently added 100 BMW i3 battery-electric vehicles to its fleet for non-patrol work. In a city known for its gridlock traffic, a hybrid vehicle would be ideal for officers.

“The highlight of the pursuit-­rated vehicle [is] you can go on pursuits. But that’s a very small portion of what our police officers are doing every day. They’re in traffic, they’re driving the streets — this is their office every day. In a place like Los Angeles where we have the amount of traffic that we have, the amount of roads, the expanse that we have in our city here, this is the kind of vehicle that we want,” said Josh Rubenstein, public information director II for the LAPD.

LAPD officials will meet with Ford and learn more about the vehicle to see if it’s a good fit, Rubenstein added.

The New York Police Department is another target for patrol vehicle hybridization, especially since it already uses hybrid vehicles for both patrol and administrative purposes.

A console mounting plate allows fleets to install equipment, as shown here. Photo courtesy of Ford
A console mounting plate allows fleets to install equipment, as shown here. Photo courtesy of Ford

Hybrid Responder Timeline:

Model Year: 2019

Pricing announcement and order banks open: Late May 2017

Production starts: Second quarter 2018

Delivery starts: Summer 2018

Vehicle Features:

Front deflector plates to help prevent vehicle damage

Police-tuned regenerative braking system with 17-inch rotors and twin-piston calipers

Heavy-duty suspension components

102.8 cubic feet of interior space, comparable to the Ford PI Sedan

Police-specific, rugged cloth front seats with slim bolsters to assist officers with a duty belt

Unique police instrumentation with pursuit mode indicator

Auxiliary power distribution box in trunk, plus rear power lug

Load-bearing battery cover that provides extra storage space in trunk.

What’s Upcoming?

For those worried about hybrid vehicle performance, the Police Responder will be tested like every other pursuit vehicle. The sedan will be the first hybrid pursuit car to be tested at the annual Michigan State Police Vehicle Evaluation and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department testing program in the fall of this year. Ford also tests the vehicle to ensure it handles police pursuits for longer periods at different speeds and over obstacles such as curbs and flooded intersections.

Ford explained that the vehicle is specifically designed for patrol use.

“When it came to the pursuit vehicle, our approach was we wanted to maximize power when the driver demanded it, for a pursuit situation, and that’s what led to tuning adjustments, a lot of it in calibration,” said Allen Magolan, police vehicle engineering manager for Ford. “When the vehicle is driven hard, it would use both the gas motor and the e-motor. And when you’re off the gas, or braking, it would regenerate as much as possible so that it would build the charge back up.”

Vehicle pricing has not yet been announced, but it’s expected to be slightly higher than the gasoline Police Interceptor Sedan. However, a Ford representative said, with fuel savings, the payback is expected to be within a year.

Ford plans to release another hybrid-­electric pursuit-rated vehicle by 2020.

COMMENTS

  1. 1. Shayne [ May 04, 2017 @ 11:24AM ]

    I currently have about 40% of my department that has trouble entering and exiting the current Ford Interceptor Sedan, due to their height. How are officers going to enter and exit a smaller vehicle with all of the gear that they wear?

 

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