Police cruisers go green

Ford Motor Co.'s latest police cruiser will be able to chase down bad guys and help the environment at the same time.

The company is unveiling its new Police Responder hybrid sedan today in New York and Los Angeles. The modified Fusion is the first hybrid to be "pursuit rated."

The cruiser will average 38 mpg, more than twice what the current Police Interceptor model gets. The company says it will mean fuel savings of almost $4,000 per car per year, which could add up for big-city police departments that have more than 1,000 cruisers.

"Having a pursuit-rated green vehicle is what they were looking for," said Arie Groeneveld, Ford's chief program engineer for police cruisers. "We expect this vehicle will grow our market share."

Ford already controls nearly two-thirds of the U.S. police car market.

The new cruisers will cycle between resting the gas engine and recharging it while they are idle — a state that police cars spend many hours in stopped by the side of the road.

"Police cruisers are in an idle position about 61 percent of the time," Groeneveld said. "That's where you get the very significant savings".

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and other Los Angeles Police Department officers were expected to help introduce the vehicle at a ceremony this morning, and the L.A. Sheriff's Department helped with the testing that earned it the pursuit rating.

LAPD units could be driving the cars by 2018. The force is committed to purchasing 300 hybrid and hybrid electric plug-in vehicles by 2020 and will build charging stations and infrastructure to support them, said LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein. Eenews

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