Already accounting for nearly two-thirds of police vehicle sales in the United States, Ford believes it has found the key to continue winning over the hearts of the law enforcement community – even better-performing vehicles that keep officers safer and save departments, and taxpayers, money.
Led by a new hybrid variant of its popular Police Interceptor Utility, Ford’s new lineup of pursuit-rated vehicles aims to build upon its 65 percent of U.S. police vehicle sales in 2017.
When the all-new Police Interceptor Utility takes to the streets in 2019, that lineup will include Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, F-150 Police Responder, Expedition SSV, F-150 SSV, Transit PTV and SSV Plug-In Hybrid Sedan.
Hybrid technology is ideal for law enforcement – and taxpayers – because of the potential for significant idle-time fuel and cost savings. When police vehicles are stationary, a conventional gasoline engine must run continuously to power emergency lighting, radios, computers and other on-board electrical equipment. The Police Interceptor Hybrid’s powertrain allows the engine to shut off for extended periods, powering the electrical equipment via its lithium-ion hybrid battery, helping achieve significant reductions in fuel usage and CO2 emissions.
“Our Police Interceptor Utility’s standard hybrid powertrain provides the potential for significant fuel savings with improved performance and no tradeoffs in safety or interior passenger or cargo space,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager. “It’s a win-win-win formula for law enforcement.”
The all-new 2020 Police Interceptor Utility hybrid has a projected EPA-estimated rating of 24 mpg combined, a 41 percent improvement over the current Police Interceptor Utility equipped with a 3.7-liter gas engine. 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*. 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.
In recent testing by Michigan State Police, the all-new Police Interceptor Utility hybrid had the fastest 0-100 mph acceleration, fastest lap, fastest average lap and highest top speed of 137 mph, versus competitive police utility vehicles tested, including V8-powered entries. The only faster entry was its cousin – Ford Police Interceptor Utility powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost®engine.
And at Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department testing, the new Police Interceptor Utility hybrid bested the outgoing 3.7-liter model in 0-60 mph by 1.1 seconds and 0-100 mph by 4.7 seconds. It also turned a fastest lap time that was 2.4 seconds better than the 3.7-liter and fastest average lap time that was 1.7 seconds better.
As is the case with other Ford hybrids, there is simply no compromise in terms of functionality. The Police Interceptor Utility platform was engineered around its lithium-ion battery, which does not intrude into the cargo area, meaning there are no tradeoffs in passenger volume, cargo volume behind the first row, cargo volume behind the second row or total interior volume – in fact, most of these measurements improve over the current vehicle.
Using technology to keep officers safer
The all-new Police Interceptor Utility introduces a number of advanced innovations designed for officer safety.
Factory-installed Police Perimeter Alert uses sensors to monitor an approximately 270-degree area around the vehicle. It 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. Motion trails of the detected threat appear on the digital instrument cluster so officers can monitor.
Ford also equips its new Police Interceptor Utility and Police Responder Hybrid Sedan with a Ford modem and two years of complimentary Ford Telematics™ service that enables timely feedback of vehicle usage and location to agency fleet managers.
“Officers take care of people in our communities, so we feel it’s important that our vehicles help take care of our officers,” Tyler said.
Available driver-assist technology includes Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking, which features Pedestrian Detection and forward collision warning. A unique disable switch for law enforcement allows officers to temporarily override the system to perform precision immobilization technique maneuvers when necessary.
Additional optional equipment includes Rear Camera On-Demand, which allows officers to view behind the vehicle at the touch of a button, and a host of factory-installed and factory-sealed wiring and lighting packages that offer agencies turnkey solutions.
Purpose-built features include heavy-duty cloth front seats with reduced bolsters for comfort and easy entry and exit for officers. Vinyl rear seats and vinyl flooring enable easy cleanup. Anti-stab plates in the rear of the front seat backs help protect officers from potential threats.
Three powertrain options for the all-new Police Interceptor Utility include a standard 3.3-liter hybrid, plus available 3.0-liter EcoBoost® and 3.3-liter V6 engines. All are powered by a new 10-speed automatic transmission and feature standard full-time Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and deep snow/sand traction control mode.
Ford Police Interceptors remain the only vehicles in the world engineered to meet Ford’s stringent 75-mph rear-impact crash standard. The federal standard for such testing is 50 mph. Additionally, safety cell construction directs collision force around the occupant compartment, and features advanced ultra-high-strength boron steel, crumple zones that absorb and dissipate crash energy, and SPACE architecture that provides structural reinforcement and side-impact protection.
Police Interceptor Utility is tested for enhanced police durability, including improved cooling, specially tuned braking system, front-door tethers, and police-purposed steel wheels, tires and hubcaps that are designed to withstand the rigors of a chase. The vehicle is also tested for eight-inch curb impact, median crossing and 30-mph railroad crossing validation, and water fording to 18 inches at 15 mph and 10 inches at 40 mph.
“Whether patrolling or sitting idle, the all-new Police Interceptor Utility will change the way officers work,” said Bill Gubing, chief engineer for Police Interceptor Utility and Ford Explorer. “Everything about it was designed for keeping police officers safe, comfortable and ready for action.”
Other standard equipment includes Bluetooth™ pass-through commands to mobile devices, to help officers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, low- and high-beam LED headlamps, four user-configurable steering wheel switches, a Class III trailer tow receiver with 5,000-pound capacity and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
A proud history of outfitting law enforcement
The popularity of Ford police vehicles continues a history that spans nearly seven decades. In that time, Ford has outfitted law enforcement with purpose-built vehicles based on some of its most popular nameplates.
In 1950, Ford became the first manufacturer to offer a police package vehicle, focusing then – as it does now – on safety, durability, performance and the attributes of being purpose-built and upfit-friendly. The Interceptor name debuted on the optional 110-horsepower flathead V8 engine for 1951.
By 1961, 58 percent of police vehicles in use in the 50 largest U.S. cities were Ford models. An emphasis on delivering total performance – including driving dynamics such as acceleration, braking and cornering – continued throughout the 1960s.
The Crown Victoria name was given to the Police Interceptor in 1983. Its available police package featuring an optional 351-cubic-inch 5.8-liter high-output V8 helped make it the preferred choice of municipalities across North America for decades.
Ford discontinued the once-ubiquitous V8-equipped Crown Victoria in 2011, and since then, its new Police Interceptors – most notably, Police Interceptor Utility – have continued to refortify law enforcement fleets. In 2017, Ford Police Interceptor Utility alone accounted for more than half of all police vehicle sales in the United States, outselling all other police vehicles combined.
*Computed using fuel costs of $2.75 to $4.50 per gallon.