The Cape Coral Police Department’s black and white police vehicles may soon be adding a new “color”: green!
The Cape Coral Police Department is among the first in the country to get brand new hybrid SUVs built specifically as police vehicles. The Ford Fusion-based Police Responder Sedan and the Ford Explorer Police Interceptor are the first true hybrids built for police purposes.
Although it sounds and drives like a typical police vehicle, Ford estimates the vehicles will save on the number of gallons of fuel per car per year. Initially, the CCPD is purchasing two hybrid SUVs. By transitioning the police fleet to electric vehicles (EVs), the City of Cape Coral Police Fleet hopes to lead by example by helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions, saving taxpayer money, improving public health, and reducing our nation’s dependence on oil.
Cape Coral Police Chief Dave Newlan thinks hybrid police vehicles could be the wave of the future. “We believe in always being on the cutting edge of technology in order to be as efficient and effective as possible in furthering our number one priority: the safety of the community and our police officers,” he said.
Ford Motor Company claims that the new hybrid Police Interceptor SUV is faster and more fuel efficient than the gas-powered model it’s replacing. Tailpipe emissions are reduced because the engine is shutting off for extended periods of time. There will be fewer oil changes and fewer brake changes because of regenerative braking on the vehicle. Officer patrol time will be increased as there will be fewer trips to the gas pump. The electric motor on the hybrid allows the gas engine to turn off, with savings estimates to the department of more than 600 gallons a year per cruiser.
The vehicles will cost $2,500 more than the gas-powered version, but Chief Newlan believes the upgrade is worth it. “You spend a little more up front,” Newlan said, “but with fuel savings alone, we hope to make up that additional payout in the first few years.”
A new safety feature on the hybrids is a perimeter alert, which warns the officers if someone comes up from behind them, and automatically rolls up the windows and locks the doors.
Officers tested the hybrid vehicles to determine whether they would meet the standards of the department, and initial impressions were very good, resulting in the go-ahead in ordering the first few of these vehicles. The CCPD will get its first two hybrid SUVs in December of this year, and the department may order more if preliminary testing in the field proves the efficiency and cost savings. Currently, the department has about 300 vehicles and spends about $625,000 a year on fuel.
Photo courtesy of Car & Driver magazine.