Ford says new hybrid police SUV hits 137 mph, will save taxpayers millions

Ford says new hybrid police SUV hits 137 mph, will save taxpayers millions

Phoebe Wall Howard Detroit Free Press

Memo to crooks: Don't even try it.

And, not only does Ford's new Police Interceptor Utility have the highest top speed (137 mph) and fastest acceleration from 0-100 mph among competitive police utility vehicles tested by law enforcement agencies; it also will save taxpayers money.

"Projections indicate the first pursuit-rated hybrid police utility will save between $3,500 and $5,700 per vehicle annually in fuel costs versus the current Police Interceptor Utility," Ford said in a statement. "If those savings were applied to every Police Interceptor Utility sold in 2017, it would equate to between $118 million and $193 million, or more than 43 million gallons of fuel."

Savings were calculated using fuel costs of $2.75 to $4.50 per gallon.

"There is no making the trade-offs you're accustomed to with a green vehicle," Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager, said during a briefing in Dearborn. "It's a win-win formula for law enforcement."

Power and performance stay intact while, "first and foremost," taxpayers save money, added Greg Ebel, assistant police brand manager for Ford.

Speed data is based on testing done in 2018 by Michigan State Police and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department. They documented that the new Police Interceptor Utility hybrid had the fastest lap and fastest average lap versus competitive police utility vehicles, including V8-powered vehicles.

"The only faster entry was its cousin — Ford Police Interceptor Utility powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine," Ford noted.

Safety features

In addition to fuel efficiency, the new police SUV is designed to enhance safety.

The vehicle includes a "Police Perimeter Alert" that uses sensors to monitor the area around the vehicle and analyzes nearby movement to detect potentially threatening behavior.

"When such motion is detected, the system automatically turns on the rear camera, sounds a chime, rolls up the windows and locks the doors," Ford said. "Motion trails of the detected threat appear on the digital instrument cluster so officers can monitor."

Like cars and trucks in its consumer models, Ford includes for police the driver-assist technology that has automatic emergency braking for "pre-collision assist," pedestrian detection and forward collision warning.

Police will, however, have access to a disable switch for law enforcement allows officers to temporarily override the system to perform precision immobilization technique maneuvers when necessary — like for pursuing lawbreakers or rushing to the aid of an accident victim or crime scene.

Saving taxpayer money

Ford hopes to grow its police vehicle sales, which reached 65 percent of U.S. market share in 2017.

The police lineup for 2019 includes: the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, F-150 Police Responder, Expedition SSV, F-150 SSV, Transit PTV and SSV Plug-In Hybrid Sedan.

When police vehicles are not moving, a conventional gasoline engine must run continuously to power emergency lighting, radios, computers and other electrical equipment. The Police Interceptor Hybrid’s powertrain allows the engine to shut off for extended periods, powering the electrical equipment with a lithium-ion hybrid battery, helping reduce fuel use and carbon emissions.

The Ford team noted that the ratings test required the SUV to add 400 pounds to the vehicle and it still outperformed every competitor, including the popular Charger Hemi.

"These officers are out there," Tyler said. "This is their office."

Alan Magolan, police vehicle engineering manager at Ford, said, "We're moving away from sedans. This has all the capability of sedans. Police want their bulletproof vests, flares. They can take it all."


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