Earlier this year, Ford unveiled the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan and F-150 Police Responder; pursuit-rated cars that, while not being as fast as some of their fully-gasoline-powered counterparts, still beat the hell of a Crown Vic. Today, Ford revealed a new offering for police: its first plug-in hybrid, which the company says can go 21 miles without burning a drop of gas.
The new hybrid is intended for chiefs, detectives, and other higher-ups at the cop shop. Not usually the kind of police, in other words, who find themselves on patrol one minute and in a high-speed pursuit the next. The car, called the Special Service Plug-In Hybrid Sedan, can be operated over the course of an entire shift without burning gas at all, thanks to its battery pack, which can be charged with an ordinary 120-volt wall outlet, according to Ford.
From the press release:
The vehicle’s 3.3-kilowatt onboard charger allows agencies to fully charge the 7.6-kilowatt-hour battery in just 2.5 hours on a 240-volt, level-two charger. But Ford is confident most agencies won’t need anything more than a regular 120-volt wall outlet to recharge. The lithium-ion battery can move the vehicle up to 21 miles on a single charge and up to 85 mph on battery power alone. Once the battery runs down, the vehicle is powered by its gasoline-electric hybrid powerplant – with a range surpassing 500 miles – eliminating any concerns of range anxiety typically associated with battery-only electrics.
Ford did not say what kind of power the battery and 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine would generate, or give numbers about horsepower or acceleration.
Inside, the car has all the things you would expect for a police car, including flashing red-and-white lights and a reinforced top tray to mount equipment. Departments also have their choice of a lot of optional equipment, like a spot lamp for the driver, in addition to a “special dark-car feature [which] turns off interior lighting and allows the dash cluster to be dimmed 100 percent for surveillance.”
As the Detroit Free Press reports, Ford’s emphasis on the police market has seen some pretty staggering returns on investment. From the Freep:
In 2016 alone, the law enforcement market consisted of about 56,000 vehicles. Auto companies like selling vehicles to law enforcement, not only because it generates revenue and raises the brand profile, but police vehicles don’t flood used-car auctions.
Ford has seen steady growth in police vehicle sales and market share. In 2013, Ford had 42% of the market when it began selling the new Interceptor police vehicles, a Taurus-based sedan and an Explorer-based SUV. In 2014, it jumped to 51%. In 2015, it climbed to 56%. In 2016, that grew to 63% of the 56,000-vehicle market.
Ford says that departments can place orders for the Special Service Plug-In Hybrid Sedan in December, with production expected to begin some time next summer.