The Fredericksburg Police Department has recently acquired three new 2021 Ford Police Interceptor Utility hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) from Ford. The trio of HEVs, two intended for patrol officers and one for the watch commander, are part of a larger initiative by the department to eventually replace and expand upon the existing fleet of almost 40 gasoline vehicles.
It started with a fleet analysis prepared by Virginia Clean Cities, “Virginia’s Premier Alternative Fuels Transportation Leader” in June of this year at the request of Fredericksburg Police Services Division Captain Patrick Reed. The group determined that the department could “significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 62% through the use of existing hybrid-electric vehicles,” much of it with idle reduction, where the engine switches to battery power while the vehicle is parked but left running. This leads to reduced emissions at the same level of performance.
Data in the report showed the current police vehicles are idle (on average) 5 1/2 hours of the department’s 11-hour shifts, thus using up half of the 663 gallons of fuel the average patrol vehicle requires every year. For the department’s 27 patrol SUVs and 12 patrol sedans, it found this idle time consumes almost 14,000 gallons of gas, costs $21,165 and produces 138 tons of C02. By switching to HEVs, the report estimated that 128 gallons of gas per vehicle would be saved annually (cutting existing “idling” costs by a third), in addition to reduced maintenance costs and emissions.
Noting that vehicles range from $22,000 for gas-powered passenger vehicles to more than $65,000 for electric SUVs, the VCC settled on recommending the Ford Explorer Hybrid Interceptor for its fuel efficiency and comparable cost ($37,155) to a similar gas-powered vehicles.
“After analyzing options and Police department requirements, it is recommended at this time that the City of Fredericksburg pursue Hybrid Electric Vehicles.”
It’s unclear if HEVs were recommended over EVs (battery-powered electric vehicles) because of the cost of EVs exceeding the savings or because there were no EVs that could meet the department’s standards, but the VCC did cite a “lack of comparable vehicles to the Ford Explorer SUV.” It also recommended that the department examine replacing the existing Administration vehicles with all-electric options like the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan LEAF and Ford Mach-E.