Ford has launched the first-of-its-kind “pursuit-rated” hybrid patrol car, the Responder, and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) could be the first to use it. According to the Los Angeles Times, the vehicle will enter production early next year and could hit the road by the end of 2018.
Responder is an apt vehicle for police departments
Ford had already announced plans to invest about $4.5 billion in auto electrification in the coming years, adding 13 new models of electric cars by 2020. Responder is the second model in its electrification plan. Other vehicles under the program are the hybrid Mustang, a hybrid F-150 pickup truck and 300-mile range battery electric vehicles.
When it comes to police vehicles, Ford has been a performer, commanding a 63% share of U.S. police patrol cars. The company claims to sell around 32,000 Interceptors a year. Ford’s Responder Hybrid Sedan is an upgraded version of the Ford Fusion with an upgraded suspension, more powerful brakes, the addition of different wheels and tires, a skid plate, and seat belts that have been adjusted in such a way that they have space for police utility belts and the “anti stab” plate to immune officers from sharp instruments if any comes from the back seat, notes LA Times.
Both the Michigan State Police and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department tested the car and awarded it the first “pursuit rated” strips, stated Ford. The Responder comes with Ford’s 2.0 liter four cylinder engine and is powered by a 1.4-kilowatt lithium-ion battery. The automaker claims the vehicle will get 38 miles to the gallon, which is double the fuel economy in its current police vehicle, the Interceptor. It can go up to 60 miles per hour in battery-only mode.
What are Ford’s expansion plans?
Ford plans to be an auto and a mobility company, manufacturing electric and self-driving vehicles and offering mobility solutions. The company also announced that by 2025, 70% of its vehicles will be electrified.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, stated, “Electrifying our next generation of vehicles is core to our unwavering commitment to sustainability.”
Hinrichs also stated that they are committed to delivering cars, SUVs and trucks that not only satisfy customers but also the environment and society.
The U.S. firm is also preparing to expand its electric vehicle fleet in China. Further, the company is working on its Mondeo Energi plug-in hybrid and an all-new full-electric small SUV with a suggested EPA range of at least 300 miles for China.
Ford Vice President Hau Thai-Tang said, “Innovative services can be as important to customers as the electric vehicles themselves.”
Further, the executive said that the company is putting in resources to come up with solutions for customers and commercial fleet owners so that they can adopt newer technologies.
Ford has a memorandum of understanding with various automakers in Europe to design an ultra-fast charging network which will supposedly be faster than the most powerful charging system to date. The automaker has set an initial target of 400 sites in Europe, and by 2020, consumers can expect to find high-powered charging points in thousands of locations, notes the Economic Times.