Ford hybrid police cars are pursuit-rated, ready for NYPD action

2018 Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan pursuit-rated police car

Ford is in the process of applying hybrid technology to a vehicle type that seems like a natural fit for it: police cars.

It’s about time. Ford claims to have the industry’s first pursuit-related hybrid police car with the Responder that will soon be delivered to departments around the nation, including to the New York Police Department.

The company announced today that it is starting to finalize orders for its first Responder Sedans—the police-duty version of its Fusion Hybrid sedan, aimed at cities and urban duty, and building on what the car-shopping public can buy as the 2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

The largest single order so far, of 156 Responder sedans, comes from the NYPD, while major police departments in Los Angeles; Columbus, Ohio; Salt Lake City; South Miami, and Virginia have ordered 10 to 150 each.

This isn’t the first time Ford’s hybrid system has been deep-cycled in 24/7 urban duty. Nearly a decade ago earlier versions of the same system were getting put to the test, in taxi fleets in New York, San Francisco, and other big cities. According to Ford, just over 90 percent of the original 2005-2012 Escape Hybrids are still in use today.

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Ford’s two current Police Interceptor vehicles together have a 65-percent share of the police market, while the current Police Interceptor Utility (a brawny Explorer) has a 52-percent share of the whole police-vehicle market. So it’s important to live up to those models’ performance.

2018 Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan pursuit-rated police car

The Fusion Hybrid-based Responder gets front deflector plates and police-purposed wheels, tires, and hubcaps. In all, it’s designed to be put up with occasionally being driven over curbs, or through flooded intersections, with a water-fording depth of 18 inches at 15 mph or 10 inches at 40 mph.

Its regenerative braking system has been tuned for police-duty (made more aggressive), and the car is fitted with larger 17-inch rotors with twin-piston calipers. Heavy-duty suspension components, as well as police-purpose wheels and tires

Otherwise, the Responder Hybrid Sedan has the same 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 and battery pack as the Fusion Hybrid, and Ford’s hybrid system, with its dual motors, is carried over from the version of this sedan you’ll find at dealerships.

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The system makes the same 188 total horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque as the Fusion Hybrid, but adds an upgraded 165-amp alternator, plus a performance driving mode that allows the system to keep the hybrid battery topped off and allow that maximum system power for a longer time. In consumer form, the Fusion Hybrid’s EPA rating is 40 mpg city, 36 highway, 38 combined.

Ford claims that the Police Responder Hybrid is the first “pursuit-rated” hybrid. In order to be called that, a police vehicle doesn’t go through any special sanctioned procedure, but there is an honor system. It depends on the official nod from two organizations that test the full array of police vehicles each year, the Michigan State Police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

In Michigan testing, for instance, the vehicle must be able to complete 32 timed laps of dynamics testing at Grattan Raceway without any major component failure. The Michigan State Police also tested the Responder (Fusion Hybrid) to 60 mph and 100 mph and found times of 9.05 and 24.36 mph, respectively—not quick, but likely fast enough for urban patrol.

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