Continue reading about police vehicles after the jump.
The absence of hybrids in the test was due to the fact that they only evaluate vehicles that are specifically offered by carmakers for special service use and no such vehicles meet that criteria at this time. There were three flex-fuel vehicles in the test, the Ford Crown Victoria, Chevy Impala and Tahoe, all of which are equipped with flex-fuel engines as standard equipment. All of these were tested with both gasoline and E85 and performance numbers were similar in each case.
According to Lt. Halliday, police agencies aren't averse to alternative powertrains, but fuel economy is not a primary factor in their decision making. Because of their special needs, performance and utility requirements must take priority when choosing police vehicles. If a vehicle can't meet the acceleration braking and handling needs of the application, efficiency means little. State and rural police in particular need larger cars because of the all the equipment they have to carry.
These officers are often patrolling significant distances from their posts and they need to carry everything they may need with them because they may not be able to go back to their posts. These vehicles typically accumulate a lot more mileage than civilian vehicles so durability is critical. As a result even though many of the vehicles they use are flex-fuel capable, concerns with corrosion may prevent some forces from using E85 even if it is available.
Another potential alternative is diesels. Since their introduction last year the Dodge Charger and Magnum police specials have proved quite popular with police. Their platform-mate, the Chrysler 300, is sold in Europe with a Mercedes-Benz 3.0L diesel V-6 that's also available now in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. If Chrysler were to offer the diesel option in the Charger/Magnum some forces would definitely consider it, although there are also concerns about the durability and cost in police applications. While the initial cost is a legitimate concern, many European police use Mercedes diesels so durability probably shouldn't be a problem.
Another possibility is smaller engines and that's something Ford is considering. When asked about the future of the Crown Vic, a Ford spokesman said that Twin-Force is something that could appear in future police vehicles. Twin-Force is Ford's branding for smaller displacement engines with direct fuel injection and turbo-charging. Hybrids don't seem to be in anyone's plans for mainstream patrol vehicles right now. For the foreseeable future the only place these are likely to see much application is in urban environments such as the recent Chicago decision to add Toyota hybrids to their fleet.
Here's a list of other police vehicle posts on AutoblogGreen:
- AFVI: Ford confirms that all 2008 police interceptors will be flex-fuel
- AFVI Show: Expo display vehicles - Chevy Sequel, E85 Interceptor, Zap! ATV, T3 and more
- More police-ridin' Segway action, this time in Chicago
- Pennyslvania town coppers get plug-in squad car
- Easy to park, easy to enforce parking with: Toronto PD's smart fortwos
- It's not Terminator, but the cops of the future are issuing tickets now
- San Sebastian police to change their cars for hybrids
- Video: Belmar NJ police switch from scooters to GEM NEVs
- Hootie hoo! NYPD buys 10 Segways
- E85 Police Tahoes coming soon to all counties in Georgia