Here Comes the Heat…

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
here comes the heat 8230

The sudden arrival of summer in this writer’s neck of the woods had two beneficial impacts. First, I’m able to work shirtless and, secondly, I can be assured that the harsh sun and 90-plus degree temps will scrub the rona from my car’s interior just by leaving it parked outside all day. Helps lower the Lysol budget.

Of course, summer can be all too brief, and sometimes a person doesn’t have all day to wait for ambient heat to melt the lipid outer layer of your average coronavirus. Ford has a solution that, while not great for the environment, will at least bring peace of mind to law enforcement officers.

It seems that, given the abundance of Blue Oval SUVs serving in police roles these days, the automaker felt the need to create a self-cleaning mode via the vehicle’s HVAC system and a new bit of software.

Yes, thanks to Ford, previous-generation Police Interceptor Utility models can really cook. On Wednesday, the manufacturer announced the creation of a new setting that cranks up the heat in the vehicle’s cabin to 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, eradicating 99 percent or more of viruses, even in hard-to-reach areas. It’ll also defrost those steaks.

Available “immediately” in 2013-2019 models sold in North America and overseas, the software can be activated even if the officer is in the vehicle, though you’d probably want to forgo that option in the interest of comfort.

From Ford:

Once activated, the vehicle’s powertrain and climate control systems work together automatically to elevate passenger compartment temperatures. The software warms up the engine to an elevated level, and both heat and fan settings operate on high. The software automatically monitors interior temperatures until the entire passenger compartment hits the optimal level, then that temperature is maintained for 15 minutes.

To research the effectiveness of this sanitization method, Ford worked closely with The Ohio State University to determine the temperature and time duration needed to help inactivate the COVID-19 virus.

After the 15 minutes is up, during which the vehicle locks its doors and turns on its flashers, the system vents the hot air and cranks the A/C, putting the vehicle back in business in a hurry. On 2016 and newer models, an officer can activate the system by pushing the cruise control buttons in a certain manner. Older models will require a technician plugging in to the vehicle’s diagnostics port to get the operation underway. This is a system you don’t want to be too easy to activate.

“You certainly don’t want it to be something that gets activated accidentally so it is a complicated enough cycle that you’d have to be paying attention to what you’re doing to, to get it to start,” Bill Gubing, Ford’s director of passenger vehicles and SUVs, told CNN.

Should the system activate with someone in the vehicle, any input from the occupant (such as moving the steering wheel) will shut the thing off.

Ford says large, well equipped police departments will be capable of installing the software themselves, while smaller outfits will need to tap a dealer service center. The system went on a trial shakedown cruise via several departments across the U.S. before its roll-out, though the automaker specifically mentions the New York City Police Department as asking for such a solution. The system can’t stop droplet ejection from an infected person’s mouth — and indeed this is the primary cause of coronavirus transmission — so the new self-cleaning system remains a nice-to-have, not a cure-all.

Ford claims it’s working on delivering the feature to other models.

[Images: Ford]

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2 of 111 comments
  • -Nate -Nate on May 30, 2020

    Cool ~ now all they need is a system to clean up those little yellow things in the back of most patrol cars..... -Nate

  • -Nate -Nate on May 30, 2020

    Good to see some here are not crazy whackos.... -Nate

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.