“While there’s a little more cost on the front end, maybe $2,000 per vehicle, there’s savings anywhere from $4000 to $5000 in fuel savings per year,” said Centennial Police Chief Jim Mork. “It’s one of those opportunities where you spend a little more in the up front cost, but you get that back in the first year. The car is in the fleet for another 4 or 5 years, there’s obviously a tremendous amount of savings in fuel costs there.”
“When the gas engine stops and the electric power takes over, that’s when the savings kicks in. Chief Mork says the higher gasoline prices go, the more savings they will realize. That’s especially true in police work when engines are running all the time to support the equipment inside.
“For our type of work, so much of the time our officers are in a parking lot, or at an accident scene and because they’ve got the emergency lights operating they need to have the vehicle running,” says Mork. “A typical gas squad car is idling for much of its shift.”
Mork says the hybrids will be able to power police equipment and even air conditioning and heat for hours before turning the engine on. And they still have the power to get somewhere in a hurry when needed.
“You think maybe you’re giving something up, but in reality they’re actually a little quicker than the gas cars because you have the gas engine working in tandem with the electric motor, so it’s actually quicker off the line,” said Mork.
The only way most people will be able to tell is by checking the hybrid badge on the back door.
Chief Mork says officers are anxious to put the new squads into service. He says real world experience should double the gas mileage from 8 miles per gallon for traditional police squads to 16 for the hybrid. Ford says they could get 24 miles per gallon under normal driving conditions.