Ford’s Fusion Hybrid police car is a lean, green, crime-fighting machine

Police cars spend a lot more time on the road than their civilian counterparts. But while hybrid powertrains are now fairly common in regular cars, they haven’t really taken off in police applications. Ford thinks it can change that.

The Blue Oval unveiled a new vehicle for the men and women in blue that it claims is the first pursuit-rated hybrid police car. Hybrids have been employed in police work before, but in less-strenuous duty like traffic enforcement. But Ford claims this new model can do essentially anything a conventional police car can.

Officially known as the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, it’s basically a police version of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. The sedan gets typical police upgrades like beefier suspension, police-specific wheels and tires, lights, and a from push bar. Ford also retuned the regenerative braking system, which harvests electrical energy from braking. The carmaker claims police departments can save up to $3,877 per year by going hybrid.

The police hybrid uses a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and electric motor for power, just like a standard Fusion Hybrid. Ford didn’t quote power output, but the standard Fusion Hybrid has a total system output of 188 horsepower. Ford did say it expects the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan to get 38 mpg combined. That’s a bit less than the 42 mpg combined of the civilian Fusion Hybrid, likely owing to the extra weight of added police equipment.

On the inside, the police car looks a bit different from a normal Fusion Hybrid. The dashboard gets extra instrumentation for police work, and the rotary shifter introduced in a recent update of the Fusion gets relocated to make room for more police gear. The front seats have thinner bolstering to accommodate officers wearing duty belts, and the backs have what Ford calls “anti-stab plates.”

The Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is part of an aggressive push by Ford that will see the company spend $4.5 billion to launch 13 new electrified vehicles by 2020. That includes one more hybrid police car, hybrid versions of the Mustang and F-150, and an all-electric SUV with 300 miles of range. Ford also announced Monday that, by 2025, it expects 70 percent of the cars it sells in China to have some form of electrification.