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Ford’s latest police car is a hybrid SUV

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Ford has a shock for the police forces of America who loved their old V8 powered Crown Vics. The new Police Interceptor Utility, set to protect the streets later in 2019, comes with a hybrid powertrain.

Don’t expect the cops to be outrun by anything quicker than a Prius though. Ford has teamed a not insignificant 3.3-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to provide a 220kph top speed.

And hybrid power seemingly makes perfect sense given the large amount of time the police spend stationary. Whilst the petrol-only Interceptor Utility runs its petrol engine to operate the radios, computers and other on-board electrical equipment needed while out on patrol, the new offering can do so with the lithium-ion battery.

Ford claims that this improved economy could save between $3,500 (Rs 2.4 lakh) and $5,700 (Rs 4 lakh) per vehicle over the current Police Interceptor Utility (Ford’s big, SUV-type police car that looks closely related to a Ford Explorer).

For those in American law enforcement who may not be completely won over by fuel savings though, there is a raft of new tech on the Interceptor designed to make policing safer and easier.

A new Police Perimeter Alert system will scan the car’s surroundings and detect ‘potentially threatening behaviour’. What Ford considers threatening behaviour we’re not sure, but the system will set off an alarm, roll up the windows, lock the doors and turn on the rear camera if triggered. Hopefully not whenever a hooded youth walks past.

Handily, Ford has also included a disable switch for the forward collision warning system, meaning officers can override the automatic braking and perform any chase-ending manoeuvres that are necessary in the heat of the moment. We approve.

With 65 per cent of all vehicles sold to the US police in recent years wearing a blue oval badge, it’s likely a lot of these will be silently sitting in the streets in the years to come.

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