The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is conducting a compressed natural gas (CNG) police vehicle demonstration program, which allows police departments in Southern California to use a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria police interceptor converted to run on CNG. The three-year program started in October 2012 in the City of Monterey Park Police Department, and interested cities across southern California will have an opportunity to use the vehicle in their fleet for two to four months. The vehicle is currently being operated by the City of Sierra Madre and will transfer to another city next month. About 15 cities and the California State University, San Bernardino have expressed interest in the program.
The SCAQMD demonstration 2011 Ford Crown Victoria police pursuit vehicle has been retrofitted to run entirely on CNG and is capable of speeds up to 100 mph. Just like its gasoline-powered counterpart, the CNG cruiser has a 4.6L V-8 engine, producing an estimated 250 hp. It achieves a similar fuel efficiency of 15 miles per gallon. With a fuel tank capacity of 15 gallons, it has an approximate range of 225 miles, according to a release from the district. At fast-fill stations, refueling takes three to five minutes.
The vehicle was also evaluated by four different drivers in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Law Enforcement Vehicle Test and Evaluation Program using a 32-lap high-speed course and a pursuit course. In these tests, the CNG Interceptor earned a passing score in various performance-based categories, as well as satisfying the 100 mph requirement for high-speed law enforcement patrol.
A second CNG police vehicle, a K-9 unit, is currently in operation at the City of South Pasadena.
According to the AQMD, natural gas vehicles on average produce about 20 to 25% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. Natural gas is also a domestic resource and costs about $1.50 less per gallon than gasoline on average.
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. The SCAQMD displayed the vehicle at the annual AltCar Expo in Santa Monica Sept. 20-21.