More than one-third of the nation's largest police fleet is comprised of hybrid or electric vehicles (EVs). The New York City Police Department, made up of more than 8,100 on-road vehicles, includes over 3,000 hybrids and EVs. Another 1,100 are on order.
The NYPD has the largest alternative fuel police fleet in the nation, likely the world, Chief Fleet Officer and Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Keith Kerman reported in a recent DCAS fleet newsletter.
The city's law enforcement fleets have 625 plug-in electric models and at least 446 more on order. By spring 2024, the city will have over 1,000 plug-in vehicles operating within its law enforcement agencies.
Models being deployed within New York City's law enforcement departments include:
- Ford Mustang Mach-E.
- Ford E-Transit.
- Chevy Bolt.
- Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid.
- Toyota Prius Prime.
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
DCAS will be investing in additional Mach-Es, EV pickup trucks, EV vans, and other models for law enforcement agencies in FY24.
Electrifying New York City's Law Enforcement Fleets
The city of New York has committed to achieving an electric fleet by 2035 for light and medium-duty models.
The largest part of the city's fleet includes vehicles assigned to law enforcement agencies. There are currently 9,466 on-road vehicles assigned to law enforcement agencies, or 40% of the total on-road fleet.
Other agencies with law enforcement vehicles include the Department of Correction (DOC), Sheriff's Office, Depatment of Sanitation (DSNY), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Department of Investigation (DOI), Department of Emergency Management (NYCEM), Probation, Taxi and Limosuine Commission (TLC), the Business Integrity Commission (BIC), and DCAS.
Keeping NYC's Law Enforcement Vehicles Charged
There are several things that should be taken into consideration in the process of transitioning to alt-fuel vehicles. Many of the demands on law enforcement and emergency response vehicles go well beyond regular cars, Kerman explained.
These include the need for superior driving performance, extensive draw on the batteries from lights and sirens, radio and computer systems, shielding to protect officers, partitioning to secure passengers, interior space to hold critical gear, and operating during multiple consecutive tours and during extended emergency activations.
A DCAS spokesperson told Government Fleet that as the assessment of the EVs continues, the department will review suggestions for improved battery specifications with the NYPD and Ford.
As the city goes further to electrify law enforcement vehicles, it will need to install faster fast chargers and address issues of back-up power during power loss events.
DCAS has begun the charger investment with 51 fast chargers installed for the NYPD fleet alone to date. The current DCAS fast charger is 50KW. DCAS is bidding out for 125 to 250 KW charging this spring to enable faster turn-around on police vehicles and also electric trucks.
DCAS is also expanding its rollout of solar chargers and battery storage chargers, which can provide critical emergency power.
"Electrifying this aspect of fleet operations is not easy and we will face many hurdles as this process continues. That said, when law enforcement goes electric, it proves that any vehicle, anywhere, can do the same," Kerman wrote.
How Are the Mach-Es doing?
In 2022, the NYPD purchased 184 Ford Mustang Mach-Es as part of a $420 million investment in fleet electrification. They are currently being evaluated in marked patrol and non-patrol assignments for the NYPD and for other departments.
A DCAS spokesperson said the early rollout of the vehicles has been well-received in general by operators. The assessment of their performance and ability to perform duties needed is ongoing as the units perform in various scenarios.
When asked whether there is a preference to use hybrids over EVs for patrol duties, the spokesperson said the city will consider implementation of both plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles as it transitions the police fleet.
Plug-in hybrids add a challenge in the need to monitor that the units get reliably plugged in. However, plug-in hybrids can provide critical and essential flexibility for emergencies including power loss events and extended tours during which re-charging is not practical.