The City of Philadelphia, Pa., is adding plug-in hybrid vehicles to its Police Department for community outreach. By January, the city will have 17 plug-in hybrids in use across multiple departments.
At a press conference, the city displayed Ford Fusion Energi vehicles — standard gasoline hybrids with plug-in capability. On a full charge they will travel 22 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in, and they can get up to the equivalent of 97 miles per gallon, according to the city.
Four Ford Fusion Energi vehicles are now on order for the Police Department and eventually each district will be assigned one, to be used as a community relations vehicle. The city currently has three plug-in hybrids used by other departments. By January, it expects to have 17 plug-in hybrids in use, including a total of eight for Police and four for Streets for use in their Sanitation Enforcement Division.
The lifecycle of these vehicles is eight to 10 years. “It would most likely take that long to break even at current fuel cost above the cost of a standard vehicle. Nonetheless, the city considers these vehicles essential as we move to a more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly fleet,” Mike Dunn, deputy communications director, stated via e-mail.
The city’s other fleet greening efforts include 200 standard hybrid vehicles. It has electric Zambonis in Parks & Rec, electric motorcycles in the Fire Department, and will be ordering waste haulers that run on compressed natural gas.
The city has reduced the total amount of vehicles in its fleet by 542 since 2003, replacing many vehicles with car share accounts. Fleet also has been using biodiesel in various blends for several years and has placed exhaust after-treatment filters on all older diesel-powered vehicles.