By on April 10, 2017

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Being first is a tricky business. As we all know, Columbus was the first to discover the Americas but we also all know that is an utter falsehood. In addition to people already living on the continent, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Viking and Chinese sailors made the trip by boat long before Spain was even considered a country. However, Columbus is the smug-looking gentleman getting most of the exploratory credit in Western textbooks.

It’s a similar story with Ford’s new Police Responder Hybrid Sedan. The automaker is calling it the “first pursuit-rated hybrid police car,” but that’s a little like saying you are the best athlete in a sport you also invented. 

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There doesn’t seem to be any official guidelines on what makes something a “pursuit-rated” vehicle. Ford says it 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). However, there is no clear maxim of what that entails between departments and no minimum requirement.

Typically, pursuit cars are any versatile platform already in an automaker’s law enforcement fleet that boasts the best acceleration. The vehicle is then equipped with some additional safety features, a light bar, upgraded brakes, suspension, and the hardware necessary to let it idle all day as the officer kills time between speeding violations. Automakers have been calling regular patrol cars “pursuit vehicles” for decades.

Pursuit is actually a term more synonymous with Chevy’s fleet offerings than Ford’s. Had Chevrolet bothered to designate its Tahoe Hybrid Special Service Vehicle differently, perhaps General Motors would be the one bragging about having the industry’s first hybrid police car.

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Furthermore, some departments have already been making use of hybrid vehicles for a while. The NYPD uses the Toyota Prius for traffic and parking enforcement. It has also repurposed the occasional Ford Fusion Hybrid for light patrol duty — which is exactly what this new Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is. But the NYPD doesn’t bother calling its hybrid cars “pursuit vehicles” because it knows they won’t be nearly as fast as the Taurus-based Interceptor Sedan, with its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6.

This is just another opportunity for Ford to announce how progressive and technologically superior it is. Hats off to it for producing a police package on a platform that could save departments serious gas money, but using careful wording to make it seem like it was the first to develop a hybrid cop car is a little grimy.

Ford’s new hybrid “pursuit vehicle” comes with the standard Fusion Hybrid’s Atkinson-cycle 2.0 liter inline-four and 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, and will debut in Los Angeles and New York City — where we’ve already seen them for years.

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[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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45 Comments on “Ford Introduces an ‘Industry First’ Hybrid Pursuit-Rated Police Vehicle...”


  • avatar
    asapuntz

    About time … they should save considerable amounts of money on brake maintenance (regen), never mind fuel and engine maintenance costs (idling, stop & go, …)

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Ford must be dyslexic. It’s April 10th….not April 01.

    This has to be a joke. Why would any agency want the added repairs, complication, awful real world fuel economy, and cramped interior of a Fusion when, for the same money, they can have a Taurus or Explorer? Sure the Explorer tries to kill you with CO and the Taurus is impossible to see out of but at least they can actually hit 50MPH in a reasonable amount of time.

    • 0 avatar
      Michael500

      True dat. Car will save $1000/yr in fuel, and cost an extra $3500/yr in repairs. This has already been documented with LA city hybrid cars. I guess no one cared to mention that, or investigate it.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Except Hybrids typically have lower maintenance and repair costs over the life of the vehicle.

      This is because the electric part of the system does not require regular servicing, and the ICE isn’t idling all day like every Crown Vic you see in the median or on the curb behind you as you nervously check your insurance card again to be sure its good.

      So, it goes a lot further on oil and other wear items, not just gas. Is using (presumably your tax) money where its not needed something you enjoy simply because it isn’t some new fangled invention you don’t understand?

      This isn’t a replacement for the bigger Interceptor vehicles, its a supplement to their lineup available to those who can make use of it.

      It sounds perfect for congested traffic duty like major roadways in metro areas. Lots of traffic enforcement that doesn’t require high speed often, but can. Accident scenes, lane closures, light speeding offenders etc.

      By the way, you kinda said something nice about the current Taurus (not to mention the Explorer), which is a big no-no around here. Perhaps you missed the many memos that the B&B have left.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        So much ignorance. To run all of those electronics and keep the cabin at a reasonable temperature, the engine will be running. Especially with Ford notorious weak air conditioning.

        As for my tax dollars, I prefer them to be used on vehicles that will keep officers safe (although with the Explorer trying to kill officers with CO, it seems maybe the Tahoe or Charger are the best police vehicles). A small fusion that has a very cramped interior is not something I’m willing to risk in a car that won’t see mileage above the teens.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Last road test I saw, the Fusion Hybrid 0-60 and 1/4 mile performance was dismal. The Camry Hybrid is so much faster, as are most other vehicles. How can a vehicle with performance problems be called pursuit? Criminals will know about the slow acceleration of the Fusion hybrid, and they will run for it. This will result in more police chases … a danger for everyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      It is only a chase if the police try to follow.

      BTW, police are trying to do away with high speed chases due to the collateral damage.

      There is research out there indicating that “lights and sirens” response to EMS calls are not worth the risk.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        Ya, what Lou said. Most police forces in the US at least are seriously restricting pursuits.

        Most police duties in America would be well served by a car like this with the major issue being that all the duty gear would make this vehicle very tight.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Chase policies vary greatly. In dense cities with narrow streets, lined with cars, chases are very bad. Out in nowhere land, chases are more reasonable.

        Where I live, is kind of in the middle. Chases are acceptable, but their goal is to end them quickly. That’s why, around here, you see the pitt maneuver within a few seconds of the chase beginning.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @brn – I don’t live in a big metropolitan area and the vast majority of high speed chases I know of end badly. That means at the least a lot of property damage all the way to personal injury and fatalities.
          Most of the high speed chases I’ve heard of involve stolen vehicles. The driver has no interest in minimizing property damage.

          Years ago in BC there was an infamous incident in the greater Vancouver region where a bait car (a F350) had its remote engine cut off fail to work. The meth head on board raced through multiple cities/jurisdictions before the engine cut out.
          All of it was captured on hidden cameras inside the vehicle. It basically became a training video on the hazards of giving chase.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            Lou, that lines up with my statements. Big, dense, cities are bad places for chases. Places where it’s more acceptable, it’s best to end them quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      The Fusion hybrids are 7.9 to 8.5 zero to sixty. The Camry is 7.1. Yes, its better. But “so much faster”? Nope. It does get worse epa mileage than the Fusion, however.

      More important is the beautiful Shepard in the photo

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Recently there was a brief police standoff right outside my office building when a guy suffering from depression got in a fight with his baby mama and started threatening both her and bystanders with a dagger. Police closed the street, let him wander within a perimeter, and started talking to him. The SWAT hostage negotiators showed up, but he didn’t seem affected. Then one of the SWATs pulled the German Shepherd Dog out of the personnel carrier. Very pretty, maybe 120 pounds, and straining at the leash to go after the guy. That was when the negotiations seemed to turn; within half an hour, he had thrown down the knife and they got him into custody.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’m sure they forgot to do anything performance wise. And since they no longer make their other police cars as an option instead of this one, you have an incredibly insightful point.

      Zero to 60 mph: 9.1 sec for the unmodified Fusion Hybrid is not much worse than the old Crown Vic Interceptor’s time of 8.75 sec. You can out run it in a stock Accord V-6. Doesn’t always mean everyone who drives one and sees a Crown Vic police car says “oh I can take him” and ends up causing a 42 car pile up over the bridge while trying.

      If they are calling it “pursuit rated”, I’m sure they didn’t leave everything under the hood as it would be in any other Fusion Hybrid.

      More info wasn’t provided but honestly, do you think they totally ignored performance with a dedicated police version? You can’t be that obtuse.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        IIRC, “pursuit rated” means that the tires are rated for prolonged high speed running. That is like the difference between the tires on a 180 mph crotch rocket and a Harley that can only go a 100.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “More info wasn’t provided but honestly, do you think they totally ignored performance with a dedicated police version?”

        Knowing Ford, absolutely. No corner goes uncut. More than likely, it had a bigger alternator. Maybe some suspension tweaks but nothing even close to the Fusion Sport. So essentially the everything is stock.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    BTW, Columbus as a “smug looking gentleman” should definitely be in quotes since, if Columbus ever sat for an artist, no likeness of him exists. So we have no idea if he was anything like “smug looking”.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I have no idea if that hybrid’s a good idea or not (I’m going with “not”) but the Fusion sure turned out to be a pretty bad*ss looking cop car.

  • avatar
    tilakilla

    Pursuit-rated isn’t some term that Ford made up. There might not be published guidelines as to what defines pursuit-rated, but every year the Michigan State Police and LA County Sheriff Department test Manufacturer’s police options and they determine the pursuit rating. It would be a pointless waste in resources for every police department across the country to test vehicles to come up with their own pursuit ratings, so the MSP and LASD publish their test results for other departments to use when choosing what vehicles to purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      ^this, and everyone’s ignoring it because mob mentality trumps conflicting facts.

      I remember among other things, it means its designed to absorb an impact stopped by vehicle traveling 75 mph. Not sure if that is applicable here, but the other Ford Pursuit Rated vehicles do.

      Ford has a police advisory board that gets direct feedback from real cops/agencies. I’m pretty sure they ran this one by ’em.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “Ford has a police advisory board that gets direct feedback from real cops/agencies. I’m pretty sure they ran this one by ’em.”

        Probably the same people they ran the Explorer by. The same Explorer that allows CO into the cabin resulting in documented symptoms of CO exposure by officers.

        Ford’s “police advisory board” is nothing but yes men. Using that as a way to legitimize a stupid and dangerous decision is like crowing about the “military grade” aluminium used on the beer can F-150. It means absolutely nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      And most agencies pay exactly zero attention to those MSP and LAPD tests. They are more concerned about total cost of operation and up time than they are about whether the car can handle running in excess of 150mph or if they can carry 4 officers and their equipment at 100mph for an hour, a CHP requirement. For city forces their cars may never see over 50 mph unless they are transporting a criminal to a regional justice facility a couple of towns over. It is all about “idling” or stop and go traffic where this will cut their fuel consumption dramatically. I saw a test that the Seattle PD did with all the cars and SUVs that were available shortly after the demise of the CVPI. In their standard patrol duty the cars didn’t break 10mpg, IIRC the Charger Pursuit averaged 7 MPG, while others were 8-9 mpg. Residential streets in the city have 20mph limits and most arterials are 35mph or even slower.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    It’s not the car that’s a hybrid, it’s the dog.

    She’ll eat wet OR dry food.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I can’t imagine a better application for a hybrid powertrain than a vehicle that spends most of its time idling. And who cares about pursuits — police are starting to realize that the risk to bystanders exceeds the benefit to the public, and using other methods to catch the people who run.

    But there isn’t really enough interior room for cops and their gear in a Fusion. Once the long-wheelbase Edge comes to America, the ideal police vehicle for city departments would be a version of it with an up-powered hybrid system (which Ford will need anyway in time) and a modified center console.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “But there isn’t really enough interior room for cops and their gear in a Fusion.”

      There’s just as much room as in a Taurus, no?

      Also, I’ve heard a bit about this “long-wheelbase” Edge from China, and I know there’s a 7-passenger version, but every pic I’ve found of it seems to have the same WB as the 5-passenger. I mean, compare this:

      https://images.dealer.com/evox/color_0640_001/11697/11697_cc0640_001_J7.jpg

      to this:

      http://lln.mnmcdn.com/photos/content/october2014/thumbnailsnew/ford-edge-limited-china-3_653.jpg

      It just looks like the differences start with a taller rear door, but not any longer. And at 112″+, the current Edge already has one of the longest WBs of any 2-row midsize CUV, even longer than some 3-row midsizers. The Pathfinder and the C1XX Acadia are the only midsizers I can think of that have a longer WB.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Cops are abandoning the Taurus for the Explorer en masse mostly because of the lack of interior room in the Taurus.

        The Edge Limited may be longer-rear-overhang rather than LWB. Whichever it is, it will have more space than the current Edge or likely the Explorer for cop accoutrements.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “And who cares about pursuits — police are starting to realize that the risk to bystanders exceeds the benefit to the public, and using other methods to catch the people who run.”

      You are missing it completely. It’s not about being able to be in a pursuit. Pursuit rated is a marketing term. It means nothing as each manufacturer has different standards for what makes a pursuit vehicle.

      Their vehicles need to be fast to respond to active shooters, officer/fire/EMS help calls, baby not breathing, intruders, etc. I don’t want my help to be driving around in some pokey, slow, trouble prone hybrid that gets 16MPG average because the Taurus/Explorer that averages 11MPG supposedly uses too much fuel.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “But there isn’t really enough interior room for cops and their gear in a Fusion.”

    Coffee and donuts have to go somewhere! ;)

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Some have commented that hybrids will show considerable gas savings while sitting idling for long periods.

    Once yet again, it looks like those unfamiliar with hybrids commenting on them.

    When sitting for a long time hybrids have to start up the engine every few minutes. They have to keep the engine and catalytic converter warm, and that cannot be done without burning a certain amount of gas. Probably an amount similar to a non-hybrid.

    Hybrids will show very large fuel savings in stop and go city traffic as that sort of use ideally matches the hybrids’ characteristics. By the time things are cooling off while stopped, it’s time to burn some gas to get moving again. But not just sitting for hours on end.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Or maybe we are the ones familiar with hybrids.

      I can (and have) sat in my C-Max Energi for two hours at a stretch, with heat or A/C on and the plug-in battery depleted. With A/C on the engine only has to run a small fraction of the time and barely uses any gas. With heat on, the engine runs more of the time (as electric heat depletes the hybrid battery in a few minutes), but gas consumption is still quite noticeably less than you would experience in a gas car idling for a similar amount of time. A gas car at idle is burning more gas than necessary to keep things warm.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You are so far from the truth it isn’t even funny. You always claim hybrids have to keep running to keep the cat warm and that is just BS plain and simple. A modern car from a true cold soak start will have it’s cat up to temp and be operating in closed loop mode in about a minute or less. The reason is heat in the coolant to provide cabin heat plain and simple and that doesn’t take much running at all to maintain temps.

      This year we had one of our rush hour snow storms that seem to come through Seattle every few years. While I was lucky and headed out of town before most people once I got out of Seattle grid lock was quickly forming. The route I chose home was supposed to be the quickest but unfortunately by the time I had passed the point of no return a couple of semis running through the pass w/o chains got into a tangle.

      When I came to a stop the display said I had 76 miles to empty. 2 hours later when the state patrol finally came through and turned everyone around I had 71 miles to empty showing. Since it was snowing it was cold so I had the heat set to 70 and of course the lights and wipers on.

      The engine ran maybe 15% of the time to keep the traction battery in its desired SOC and provide enough heat to maintain that 70 degree setting despite the indicated outside temp of around 30.

      So no a hybrid idling for extended period will not use anywhere near as much fuel as a conventional ICE powered vehicle. Running at a slightly elevated rpm for 10-20% of the time does not consume anywhere near as much fuel as an engine at a lower idle speed 100% of the time.

      I’ve also sat in our Fusion Hybrid for an hour or more with the AC cranking out the cold sitting in the sun in 90-100 degree temps with similar results of the engine running only 10-20% of the time though in this case it was purely related to the battery’s SOC.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Police vehicles will have a greater battery drain due to emergency lights and radio’s/computers, but with that being said, LED’s are becoming the norm and therefore drastically reduce the draw on the system.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      My comments address hybrids, not plug-in hybrids. And temperatures where the hybrid battery has to be heated or cooled.

      A few days ago, in the comments for the article on the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, someone made the point that hybrids are “tightly strung system that’s easily disrupted, and any disruption–mechanical, environmental–will reveal itself in the fuel mileage first, by far.”

      Presumably such “disruptions” would include long periods of “idling”. None of those now saying that hybrids at idle use minimal gas, leaped to the defense of hybrids during that discussion.

      Even if the converter heats up before the passenger compartment, it is consistent that the converter (a flimsy metal thing that must be very hot) would also fall below operating temp before the interior gets uncomfortable.

      Look, what is the purpose of idling? It is to maintain temperatures. By either heating or cooling. What is heated or cooled? Engine, interior, exhaust, electric heater grids and if the car has one, a traction battery.

      With the exception of the battery, the heating and cooling of these takes exactly the same amount of energy in a hybrid as a non-hybrid. Typically a non-hybrid has a larger engine to heat or cool. Hybrid or not, every bit of this energy comes from burning gas.

      It may seem like the hybrid is burning less gas because the engine is not running some or most of the time, but because of the addition of the battery conditioning, it simply has to produce more heat or cool more refrigerant. The difference is something you can’t see: throttle setting by the automatic choke.

      A warmed-up non-hybrid at idle actually consumes very little gas. Engine stop-start is not a huge gas saver. On the other hand, when my hybrid is running the engine during stop and go traffic, it consumes gas faster per unit of time than a non-hybrid idling at a standstill. I can see the milage readout dropping whenever the engine kicks in.

      ……….

      We are glossing over a lot of variables. Such as whether a hybrid has a belt-briven or electrical a/c compressor. Or plug-in vs regular hybrid. Or ambient temperature. All these and more affect how cars operate.

      Do non-hybrids monitor catalytic converter temperature? If so, do they maintain the converter at as optimal a temperature as a hybrid does? A hybrid tuned to do this optimally will burn more gas at idle than a hybrid tuned to allow the converter to cool off more.

      A car set up to maintain converter temperature will burn more gas at idle than one that ignores converter temperature. Of course the other difference is how clean the exhaust is. I don’t know, but I’d speculate that hybrids manage converter temperature more stringently than non-hybruds. So the hybrids take a mileage penalty for this but run cleaner.

      As for temperature, if it’s cold enough a hybrid will run the engine all the time.

  • avatar
    brn

    I took a look at the Ford site, which is lacking much detail. This is a Police Responder, NOT a Police Interceptor. Putting aside speed, it doesn’t have the safety or durability rating of the Taurus based PI Sedan.

    Don’t get me wrong, this thing is heftier than a Fusion Hybrid (has the curb rating for example) and has a place in police departments, but labeling it as “pursuit rated” is misleading.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah this is not “pursuit rated” it is a SSV or Special Service Vehicle which has improvements to handle the police equipment and ability to hop curbs. It is not an Interceptor which is what they call their cars that are rated for high speed pursuit. Yet another click bait article with a misleading headline.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    That top photo..

    “You call those dog dishes?!”

  • avatar
    Rday

    I think Ford must be smoking some dope. the police market seems to be suv’s instead of police cars. Surely ford must know that but again…they didn’t almost go broke by having good smart men at the tiller. we need Toyota to come up with a hybrid suv that will really get everybody’s attention. I don’t think the Highlander is big enough but maybe one of the larger models would do. And everyone knows that if toyota does it, it will be done ‘right’. But the asians have not grasped the ‘large vehicle market in the US’ very well.

  • avatar
    shaker

    “Pursuit-Rated”

    Bench seat up front?


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