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LAPD will use first-ever 'pursuit-rated' hybrid patrol cars

by Susan Carpenter | Take Two®

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The Los Angeles Police Department will add the world's first "pursuit-rated" hybrid patrol car to its fleet in summer 2018.

Calling it "a greener shade of blue," Ford unveiled the world's first pursuit-rated hybrid patrol car at a joint event with the Los Angeles Police Department Monday. The Police Responder Hybrid Sedan will begin patrolling L.A.'s streets in summer 2018.

“Our mission to create safe and healthy communities in Los Angeles is achieved through sustainable approaches in community policing, and that includes embracing new technologies,” said Charlie Beck, Los Angeles Police Department Chief. “Patrol vehicles are a police officer’s office, and we expect them to not only be economically and environmentally efficient, but also an effective tool for fighting crime in major metropolitan areas.”

Designed to handle long pursuits at different speeds, the Police Responder can drive over curbs and negotiate flooded intersections, Ford says. It automatically goes into pursuit mode when the accelerator is held for five seconds, combining the electric motor and gas engine for maximum performance.

It isn't expected to be as fast as Ford's current patrol car – the Taurus Police Interceptor, which accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. But it will be faster than the standard Ford Fusion Hybrid, upon which the Police Responder is based, which accelerates to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds.

The Taurus Police Interceptor is rated at 21 mpg combined; the Police Responder has an EPA rating of 38 mpg combined.

Able to travel at speeds up to 60 mph in battery-only mode, the lithium-ion power pack is also used to power many of the vehicle's auxiliary functions that would ordinarily be powered with gas, including the flashers and radio.

Gas-powered police cars idle for about five hours out of every eight-hour shift and are typically used for two shifts per day, logging an average of 20,000 miles per year per car, according to the LAPD. Based on $2.50 per gallon gas and 20,000 miles of driving, each Police Responder could save $3,900 in fuel costs each year, Ford says.

It is unclear how many Police Responders the LAPD will purchase, but the department currently has about 6,000 vehicles in its fleet. Already, the LAPD has conducted short-term pilot tests with various plug-in vehicles, including the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, BMW i3 all-electric hatchback, Tesla Model S sedan and Zero Motorcycles.

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