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April 10, 2017

Ford launches US police responder hybrid sedan

Ford has launched a claimed industry first pursuit rated hybrid police car as part of a US$4.5bn spend to make electric vehicles.

Ford has launched a claimed industry first pursuit rated hybrid police car as part of a US$4.5bn spend to make electric vehicles.

"Electrifying our next generation of vehicles is core to our unwavering commitment to sustainability," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. "By being a leader in electrified vehicles, we remain committed to delivering cars, trucks and SUVs that are better not only for our customers, but for the environment and society as well."

The Fusion Hybrid-based police responder hybrid sedan – making its debut in Los Angeles and New York – is the industry's first pursuit-rated hybrid police car.

Ford claims to sell the most police vehicles in the US, with 63% market share. The company has been partnering with cities on custom law enforcement vehicles since the days of the Model T.

The responder hybrid sedan will help cities decrease emissions and offers the potential for significant fuel savings, both while driving and while idling. While driving, patented hybrid technology is projected to provide EPA-estimated combined gas mileage of 38mpg – more than twice that of today's Police Interceptor with 3.7-litre V6 with EPA-estimated 18mpg combined. Final EPA-estimated ratings are not yet available. 

While idling, the responder hybrid sedan's lithium-ion battery helps power the high electrical loads of a police vehicle, reducing engine run time and saving an estimated 0.27 gallons of fuel per hour. Customers could see nearly US$3,900 a year in potential fuel savings per vehicle relative to the police interceptor, if a police vehicle is driven 20,000 miles per year, runs two shifts per day, 365 days per year, idles 4.9 hours per eight-hour shift, and is fuelled at an average gas price of $2.50/gallon.

The new vehicle will be the first hybrid sedan with full pursuit capabilities. That means the car is certified by police agencies to be tough enough to handle police pursuits for longer periods at different speeds and over obstacles such as curbs and flooded intersections.

The responder hybrid sedan uses an efficient Atkinson-cycle two-litre engine with an electric motor fed by an advanced lithium-ion battery. The hybrid is calibrated for law enforcement's unique duty cycle and will run in battery-only mode up to 60 mph. The car automatically switches to maximum performance – with the engine and battery working at peak acceleration levels – when needed.

The responder hybrid sedan can be ordered this spring and will be delivered to police departments nationwide next summer.

Ford also is testing a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi and van prototypes in demanding traffic conditions in New York and several other major US cities.

It also is aggressively expanding its electric vehicle lineup in China. The company just announced that, by 2025, 70% of the vehicles it sells there will be electrified.

In addition, Ford is introducing the Mondeo [outside US version of the Fusion] Energi plug-in hybrid and a new fully electric small SUV with projected EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles to customers in China.

In January, Ford announced a multimillion-pound project designed to help improve air quality in London. It is providing 20 Transit Custom plug-in hybrid vehicles to a range of fleets to explore how these commercial vans can contribute to cleaner air targets, while boosting operator productivity in urban conditions. The project is supported financially by the UK government funded Advanced Propulsion Centre.

Ford is working on a suite of services to make electric vehicles even easier to own.

"Innovative services can be as important to customers as the electric vehicles themselves," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford group vice president, purchasing, and the company's electrification champion. "We are investing in solutions to help private customers as well as commercial fleet owners seamlessly incorporate these new vehicles and technologies into their lives."

Ford has a memorandum of understanding with several automakers in Europe to create an ultrafast charging network projected to be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points.

Ford also is piloting wireless technology on company electric cars in the United States and Europe to make recharging as easy as pulling into a parking spot, so drivers never forget to recharge. Wireless recharging extends electric-only range for short-distance commuters, even during quick stops. FordPass also can help consumers find charging stations.

In addition, Ford plans:

  • Another new hybrid police vehicle for North America
  • New fully electric small SUV, coming by 2020, engineered to deliver an EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles, to be sold in North America, Europe and Asia.
  • Hybrid-powered self-driving vehicle designed for commercial mobility services, starting in North America in 2021
  • Hybrid version of best-selling F-150 pickup, available by 2020, and sold in North America and the Middle East. F-150 Hybrid will offer powerful towing and payload capacity, and will operate as a mobile generator tough enough to power a job site
  • Hybrid version of iconic Mustang that will deliver V8 power and even more low-end torque. Mustang Hybrid debuts in 2020 in North America, to start
  • Transit Custom plug-in hybrid available in 2019 in Europe, engineered to help reduce operating costs in even the most congested streets

As growing urban populations are overwhelming transportation systems and compromising air quality, first-time car buyers – including 50% of US millennials – say they are interested in purchasing an electric car, according to a poll conducted by the Consumer Federation of America.

Ford claims to be at the forefront of driving electric vehicle technology and improving costs on batteries and motors for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles. As the company focuses on vehicles that deliver improved performance, it expects sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles to dramatically increase during the next decade.

It predicts the auto industry will offer customers more hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles than petrol-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.

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