More than 50 percent of what Ford sells to police departments are utilities, Hinrichs said, mirroring an overall industry trend away from cars and into crossovers and SUVs. The LAPD and their New York City counterparts will be the nation's first departments to use the new vehicles. Ford says the new Responder is the industry's first "pursuit-rated" hybrid police vehicle, meaning it's certified by law enforcement agencies to be tough enough to handle the various conditions officers could face during chases. "We expect this vehicle will grow our market share".
Ford says it has a 63-percent share of the market for police vehicles in the USA and suggests that police departments could save nearly $3,900 a year in fuel costs with its hybrid pursuit vehicle. As the Blue Oval itself notes in its press release, that's more than double what the Taurus Police Interceptor is rated for at 18 mpg. Under the hood of the four-door vehicles will be Atkinson-cycle 2-liter engines paired with an electric motor powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries.
The Responder is a byproduct of Ford's $4.5 billion investment announced earlier this year in electric cars. Ford noted that this powertrain is bound to consume one gallon at every 38 miles, this being twice the fuel economy in Ford's current police vehicles.
Ford Vice President Hau Thai-Tang said, "Innovative services can be as important to customers as the electric vehicles themselves".
According to Wired, the department stands to save $3,800 a year per vehicle in fuel costs, as well as reduced brake pad maintenance and oil changes. "We'll continue to invest if it's good business for us". For one thing, the Police Responder lacks protection against high-speed rear impacts that can occur when police cars are stopped on the shoulder of a highway. As a midsize sedan, it's smaller than the full-size sedan and SUV police vehicles that Ford has been offering.
The vehicle will be introduced to the public at a ceremony today in Los Angeles.
Now, police departments and other first responders will be able to order ready-made, high-performance hybrids instead of having to pay for their conversions.
Police cars spend about 60% of their on-duty time running at idle, according to Ford.