Ford has unveiled a new hybrid Police Interceptor SUV. It's the industry's first pursuit-rated hybrid SUV, and it could save $3,200 per year in fuel bills compared to SUVs currently policing the streets.
When law enforcement officials were looking for upgrades, they not only wanted to save money on fuel costs, but they wanted to do so without sacrificing passenger or cargo space to find room for batteries. As a result, Ford's new design was able to strategically place the lithium-ion batteries in places inside of the vehicle that don't cut into seating and storage spaces.
The Interceptor is still going through fuel economy certification, but it is expected to reach at least 24 mpg. According to Ford, that would be nearly 40 percent better than the current 3.7-liter V6.
The improved fuel economy, when combined with the reduced idling time, could save police departments up to $3,200 per year, per vehicle. If every Ford Police Interceptor Utility sold in 2017 had these same capabilities, police forces stood to save a combined $126 million at the pump, or the equivalent of 43 million gallons of fuel.
According to Ford, the company now controls about 65 percent of the police vehicle market just in the U.S.
The new hybrids will be built at Ford's assembly plant in Chicago, and then up-fitted at the company's Chicago Modification Center.
The new SUV serves as a preview for what may be in store for new hybrid and plug-in hybrid Ford SUVs that may be soon available to consumers throughout North America.
Update June 27, 2017:
After receiving multiple questions regarding the air conditioning in the hybrid SUV, we reached out to Ford.
Many law enforcement officers in warm climates can't sit in a vehicle unless the A/C is operating – it's simply too hot. As a result, Ford made sure that the A/C compressor runs on an electric motor, so it will continue to keep the officers cool even when the gas engine is off.
Also, according to a company spokesperson, Ford recently updated the savings calculator from $2.50 per gallon to $2.75 per gallon. The savings is now estimated at $3,500 per year, per vehicle.