By on September 22, 2021

Whenever I close my eyes to fantasize about police vehicles, it’s a foregone conclusion that I’m thinking about a Ford Crown Victoria. The model had a two-decade lifespan occupying departmental motor pools as the de facto police cruiser. But it’s been out of action since 2012, leaving a gigantic hole in governmental order forms that allowed other brands to flood into the space. While Ford managed to keep law enforcement interested in its SUVs (and sometimes F-Series pickups), Dodge’s Charger secured the most sedan sales by far.

Ford probably doesn’t want to find itself missing out on the most lucrative corner of the fleet market moving forward, especially as governments begin to embrace electrification. We’ve already seen the manufacturer float a few hybrid options by departments to see what they think. But now it’s ready to see how an all-electric vehicle might play. For the 2022 Model Year Police Evaluations, Ford handed the Mach-E over to Michigan State Police — giving them carte blanche to subject it to multiple days of abuse in order to establish whether or not it’s worthy of active duty. 

If you’re a nerd that gets aroused by comparative testing, you’re going to like these evaluations. The Michigan State Police provide a buffet of data points and they’re used by other departments to help decide whether or not they’re interested in throwing departmental funds at specific models.

While the 2022 model year results likely won’t arrive until November, Ford seems more interested in seeing what cops think of the Mach-E than actually hoping to sell them in large quantities. EVs have an extremely limited history with police departments and most of it is kind of sad. The best example of this is probably the glut of BMW i3s purchased by the LAPD. Los Angeles bought roughly 100 units in 2016 and the logic was that the fuel savings would easily offset the $1.4 million it cost the police force to secure them from BMW. But nobody was driving them for official purposes, save for the occasional bout of parking enforcement, making the whole thing giant waste of money.

Considering Ford’s prolonged relationship with American law enforcement, Blue Oval doesn’t want to screw this up and has said that the Mach-E is primarily there to help it “explore purpose-built electric police vehicles in the future.”

Europe is also getting a taste, with Safeguard SVP outfitting some Mach-Es for testing in the United Kingdom. Early testing has given us a sense of how they’ll be equipped. The UK Fords have all been issued extended-range batteries and rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. They’re also said to be capable of hitting 100 kph (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds with the added equipment with the top speed remaining limited at 111 mph. Range is allegedly unaffected, thanks to accessories drawing from a separate 12-volt battery. That means 305 miles for rear-drive units, with all-wheel drive models needing a recharge right around 270 miles.

While several EVs have been adapted for police use in Europe, the take rate is substantially lower in the United States. New York City has long used the Toyota Prius (in tandem with the Smart ForTwo) for parking enforcement. But departments have largely avoided pure battery-electric automobiles. Meanwhile, Seattle has been using the Nissan Leaf to read the meters since 2015 and there are a few places you might see a Chevrolet Bolt with red and blue lights on the roof scattered across the nation.

Electric or not, the Mustang Mach-E is a very different machine than the electric and hybrid cars currently employed by American police departments and we’re wondering how it’s gone to compare to the gasoline-powered mainstays. What do you think? Is the Mach-E fit for service or will this ultimately be a learning experience Ford can use to make the F-150 Lightning more palatable to law enforcement?

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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57 Comments on “Ford Mustang Mach-E Police Cars: Yay or Nay?...”


  • avatar
    Alex Mackinnon

    The Mach E is RWD or AWD. Not FWD.

  • avatar
    ajla

    This just made me look up Crown Victorias for sale.
    It is old and slow but those proportions are great. Especially in comparison to whatever the Mach-E is supposed to look like.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      They are still coming out of service pretty regularly, there are 3 or 4 up for auction on govdeals in my state right now.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Panthers were some of the last sedans made with a halfway decent roof. Too many modern models start to curb down where the rear passengers head ducks.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Posky

        I’ve driven Panthers for years and still find myself browsing them at auctions. Parts remain plentiful, cheap and it’s an easy car to live with. If you’re hunting for a comfortable beater, there aren’t many better choices.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Just avoid CVPIs, unless if you find a mint unicorn example without any rust. 2006+ transmissions seem less stout too.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            My brother had an ex-cop Crown Vic, and it was a LONG way from being all that. Police departments retire these cars for a reason – they’ve been abused HEAVILY and have tons of miles, meaning plenty of s**t goes wrong with them, and that was the case with my brother’s example. If you like to wrench on your cars, great, but he wasn’t into that at all. He had it for a year or so and got rid of it.

            The good news was that the agency that owned the car previously left the pillar mounted spotlight intact, and that was fun to play with.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Unless it was a creampuff I’d probably get a civilian model and just add some P71 stuff to it.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Freedmike, I’d say stay away from the civilian cars because they haven’t been maintained. Seriously it all depends on the agency that previously owned it. A broke ass municipality that hot seats them and keeps them to 200k because they can’t afford a new to them used car is going to be a worn out POS. On the other hand get one from a agency with money that does a 1 man-1 car scheme and has a strict PM and retirement schedule (and mechanic’s that milk it) and you’ll have a car in far better mechanical condition than the average civilian car.

            My Daughter’s has an 03. In the ~65K she’s owned it we have replaced the brakes all around, the alternator, tensioner, belt, spark plugs, tires and of course oil changes.

            I’ve only driven my 05 ~45k and have only replaced the tires and changed the oil. It is about due for brakes though.

            Both did get civilian radio upgrades and my daughter’s got junk yard cruise and power pedals. Both also wear Mustang wheels. All done dirt cheap even the tire and wheel upgrades thanks to craigslist and people who have to put aftermarket wheels on their Mustang.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Scoutdude I agree 100% and would extend that to ex rentals as well. I’ll take maybe driven hard but probably maintained over maybe to both every time.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Just avoid CVPIs”

            “I’d say stay away from the civilian cars because they haven’t been maintained.”

            “and would extend that to ex rentals as well”

            Honestly, I personally wouldn’t worry about it that much. The newest one was built in 2012 so you’ll be dealing with some age no matter what. And anyway, it is a Panther not a 7-Series. I wouldn’t want something bombed out but unless Ford built something of much lower quality than the likes of late 90s GM cars I won’t have any trouble keeping them in decent shape.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @alja yeah that was kind of my point at ~10 or more years it is all about the specific vehicle’s condition and maintenance. There will be clapped out cars and cream puffs and it doesn’t really matter whether it was a police, rental or civilian spec car.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    A BEV would be a challenge for now in highway patrol or exurban applications, but would have some advantages for police in large cities. (Clean idling, can sit indefinitely with lights running, very efficient in stop-start applications.) It’ll be interesting to see how it performs in the testing, but for now I think it’s only the NYPDs and MPDs of the world that could potentially be interested.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Or any decent-sized city in Europe. It seems like a slam-dunk for London or Manchester, just completely unsuited for the average American highway patrol.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I think it’d be a good vehicles for the officers who don’t normally use their rides to chase bad guys, or haul around suspects in the back (I’m thinking detectives, support personnel, etc). But I don’t think any EV – Mach E included – is ready to take over from the vehicles the police use right now. Said it below, so sorry if I repeat myself, but the upcoming electric F150 might be a far better cop cruiser.

    • 0 avatar

      They would work fine in most small towns in the North East. Most towns are are around 30-50 square miles. I doubt the average patrol car sees more then 100-120 miles a day.

  • avatar
    random1

    I think BEVs are ideal in the dense suburbs, like mine in southern Westchester County, NY. Rolling around town all day, lots of idling, stop signs all over the place, low total daily miles.

    I don’t know what requirements they need internally, space-wise, etc., but from a standpoint of economics of running the fleet, there can’t be many better use cases. If I was selling BEVs, I’d be pushing this hard if I could. Although right now, more or less every BEV maker is sold out for months, so they don’t need to push out relatively low-spec fleet models.

  • avatar
    Tree Trunk

    Seems ideal, range upto 300 miles, 0-60 in 5sec and easy to set up charging for fleet operations. Battery could be topped off in an hour after regular shift.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    This would be laughably bad.

    Imagine spending $30-$40k on a patrol vehicle that will only last half a shift and cannot be refueled in 5 minutes. What an absolute joke.

    The electronics to run radar, emergency lighting, the laptop and the additional weight of a push bumper, cage, and miscellaneous equipment police carry makes the vehicle quite heavy. The simple fact is, the range will drop significantly when those things are taken into account. Typically an ICE vehicle sees a 50% drop in fuel economy compared to the civilian model. An EV will be very similar despite the saving from not idling. All that extra weight has a larger effect in range for an EV vs an ICE vehicle.

    So range will be in the 135 mile range at best when starting a shift. Then, the city will have to buy an entire other vehicle so the officer coming in at night has something to drive while the silly EV sits for hours and recharges.

    Makes total financial sense vs buying a far cheaper vehicle that can have a longer range and be completely refueled mid shift or at the end of the shift in 5 minutes.

    • 0 avatar
      random1

      135 probably pessimistic, but even so, I bet our town cops do less than that. And hours? Come on.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Yes hours.

        And even then it will only charge to 80% for some ridiculous reason. There’s a reason when you plan trips with a EV the time is considerably longer than a ICE vehicle. Charging takes a long time.

        • 0 avatar
          random1

          Up to 80% is measured in minutes now on DC fast chargers, you’re just wrong on that front. 0-80% is about 50 min on the Mach E. 150mi in 30 minutes.

          I think(hope?) we’re going to see lots of EV police cars very soon.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    It might work in Europe, where theyre used to temperamental Volvos and what not. In the States I don’t think these wi cope with jumping curbs or crumbling roads that well.

    What I’m curious to know is how the batteries will handle the extra electrical load of the police gear. And if cops will use laptops or use the Mach Es touchscreen (which hopefully wont be harmed by the police gear inside).

    I definitely won’t be buying any used ones though. Used cop cars (even CVPIs) aren’t worth the flipper premium.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      What on earth is going to recharge that extra 12v battery for the cop accessories?! Presumably some sort of alternator-like device which will pull range from the main battery.

      Until someone can come up with an EV battery that can be recharged fully in 5 minutes, and won’t boil itself to oblivion after a year of such use, this ain’t gonna work!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Wouldn’t be a bad idea to put some in fleet service as a “beta test”, so to speak, to test out what is needed and not needed for police duty. But the Mach-E wouldn’t be a great police car – it’s not much bigger than an Escape, so it wouldn’t have much room to put the bad guys in the back.

    But the F150 Lightning would probably make a very good police cruiser. I wonder if Ford could just load up more batteries in the bed to increase range.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Forgot to mention: Our police aren’t using Bolts, but the entire rest of city government is, and they have been a major financial and operational success. Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, no downtime, cheap to run from hydropower. EVs will take over all urban fleets, including government fleets, in the near future.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Range is allegedly unaffected, thanks to accessories drawing from a separate 12-volt battery.”

    That’s a non-sensical claim, because that’s how all EVs work. All accessories are powered by the 12V battery, which in turn is charged by the traction battery. The 12V battery power isn’t free.

    So the addition of police-style accessories will certainly affect range, depending on what they are – just like any car.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I thought that in a true EV, there wasn’t a separate 12v battery for anything, just some sort of link, stepped-down to 12v, for accessories and whatnot.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        As far as I know, all EVs have a 12V battery. My 12 Leaf had one, and so does my 19 Ioniq. The Ioniq battery is lead-free, because green.

        In fact, with a dead 12V battery, the car won’t even start. A jump is possible, but the current required is almost nothing because you’re not turning over a starter motor.

        In a Tesla, I think you get locked out of the car if the 12V battery croaks, so there is some goofy procedure where you have to feed 12V through a cover under the front bumper or something.

        I once used my Leaf to jump a Nissan Sentra, and once had to jump the Ioniq when its 12V battery ran low. Both experiences were rather ICE-like.

        • 0 avatar

          I wonder what the logic is behind this. All I can figure is their using the 12V battery to run the contactors to connect the main battery? Other then that just using power supplies to run everything that needs low voltage would seem to make more sense. Which kind of begs the questions if some capacitors may be more useful then the batteries for that application.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Interesting questions! That would make sense that something has to get the power going.

            Too complex for my pea brain, I guess.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Wouldn’t the base Maverick with the hybrid drivetrain be more suitable overall.

    And when I think of police/squad cars I think of Plymouth Fury IIs and IIIs, Dodge Monacos and a black and white 1955 Buick Century 68. “10-4 over and out.”

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I recall seeing a Dodge Diplomat in my mirror many times.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      My guess is that for the average city-bound fleet car, an EV has far, far lower long-term maintenance costs than a hybrid, given the lack of moving parts, no start-stop and low mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        That sort of thing is arguably the best use-case for an EV! If a jurisdiction has a lot of area to cover, along with a more liberal pursuit policy, and someone starts running, you’re going to be losing units in pursuit a lot quicker with an EV than if the cop runs out of gas, at least with the current state of today’s offerings.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      The Crown Vic surfaced in the 90’s. Prior to that we saw Ford Galaxie’s,and the cars Aurthur mentions.

  • avatar
    mcs

    No mention of the Tesla police car experiments in the article. Here are a few.

    Bargersville IN

    https://www.thedrive.com/news/34494/how-a-tesla-model-3-patrol-car-is-saving-this-police-department-thousands-of-dollars

    West Virginia:
    https://www.wsaz.com/2021/09/07/first-electric-police-car-wva-begins-patrols/

    https://driveteslacanada.ca/model-3/rosendale-police-department-in-new-york-get-tesla-model-3-police-car/

    https://www.eplocalnews.org/2021/07/20/eden-prairie-police-department-debuts-all-electric-tesla-patrol-car/

    https://www.wmur.com/article/new-wolfeboro-police-cruiser-silent-electric/37013343

    https://ktul.com/news/local/broken-arrow-greenlights-purchase-of-50k-tesla-police-car-to-save-money

    Westport CT
    https://www.westportct.gov/Home/Components/News/News/8926/35

    The only problem with the Model 3 police cruiser is that if you turn on autopilot, it goes in circles trying to run into itself. Not really, but I couldn’t resist.

  • avatar
    John R

    Yay. A Mach-E (I will never call this a Mustang) might be ideal for dense municipalities like a NY or Philly.

    Also, I’m going to guess that Ford could build a decontented but still hi-po AWD version of the Mach-E to a price that matches what they are already charging cities for the Explorers that I see on the road.

  • avatar
    lonborghini

    I believe that the Chevrolet Bolt should be adequate.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I doubt Ford wants to actually sell Mach E’s as police cars. More likely they just want to see how the police think a possible police EV would work. Ford could easily design a more purpose built body style for police use.

  • avatar
    crackers

    Around where I live, police vehicles are also used as mobile offices. In the winter, they are allowed to idle for long periods of time to keep the interior warm while the officers write notes and reports, which could have a serious impact on the vehicle’s range. Winter here is no joke – the weather is actively trying to kill us for six months of the year.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      On the other side of the coin, you can idle in an EV with the heat on for as long as you want without sitting in a cloud of your own exhaust.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @crackers: Yes, that’s a very real issue with an EV.

      Idling in temperate weather is nothing, but in very cold weather the range melts away.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Since modern EVs hit the scene a decade ago, mfrs have been loathe to discuss real, usable range. Daily usable range is about 60% of EPA (due to filling to 80%* and not going below 20%), and winter weather and winter idling, plus adding payload and speeding all cut into range.

        Any police department considering an EV should get one with at least 2-4x the range they need it for.

        *If a police EV was used continuously shift-to-shift, it could maybe be charged to 100% every time as long as it goes back on the road immediately.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Use by police forces is another great idea for using EV’s including this MachE. And, no, don’t limit them to detectives, administrative, or parking enforcement – there should be no limitations on them. Run them like the old Panthers or newer Explorers and Chargers in all facets of the job. Quiet, zero emissions, quick acceleration times are a big plus. This will prove to all that EV technology has come to maturity. Just like EV use for delivery vehicles and public transportation, use by the police is another great idea.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think it was LA who acquired a bunch of BMW i3s for LAPD trials and subsequently consigned them to the department of parking pirates or something to this effect. I imagine there were reasons for this.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        “I imagine there were reasons for this.”. Geeze, I can’t imagine what reasons there might be. A lot of what I read here on TTAC leads me to believe that EV’s are a mature and smart way of transportation and this only can lead one to believe that their time has come and the time is now. Our law enforcement folks need to be on this cutting edge to be remain able to perform all their duties efficiently in a green-friendly, cutting edge vehicle. I personally look forward to a three-state chase on YouTube with some state patrol EV’s chasing a bad guy in a Charger at high speed on an interstate highway. At night. In February. Through Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota.

  • avatar
    Eliyahu

    Some cities run their police vehicles 24/7. The vehicles are rotated to the new shift. Solution: Fast chargers at the donut shop?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    will be interesting to see the results Michigan has with the Mach E. Might be a surprise to all of us.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Uh, fleet doesn’t make much money unless your model is a paid off profit center such as Panther, LX, GM800 etc. They must be pretty desperate to get more out there, I imagine Ford is already losing money on every unit at retail, certainly every unit vs total development costs for the model.

    “ultimately be a learning experience Ford can use to make the F-150 Lightning more palatable to law enforcement?”

    There may be PPV plans for the F-150 EV, but I doubt this aberration has anything to contribute to them. Either they are desperate to move some metal to make the overall sales numbers look less pathetic or they have too many days inventory sitting unsold/unshipped and are looking for solutions.

    Once again, I doubt a REAL Mustang EV would be having issues along those lines.

    • 0 avatar

      My guess is they are looking to maintain an order book to keep supplier agreements at high enough volumes. Basically busy work to keep discounts in place. Not all that uncommon in the manufacturing world.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Likely third option, move enough metal because production volumes are not high enough and need to be at a certain level to honor existing discounts/price points for components.

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