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The LAPD's New Hybrid Cruisers Are Car-Chase Approved

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(Photo courtesy of Ford)
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The Los Angeles Police Department is going electric… well, almost. The department will be one of the first in the country to use the new Ford Police Responder Hybrid, based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, following Police Chief Charlie Beck's unveiling of the two vehicles at a ceremony later Monday morning. The LAPD and their New York City counterparts will be the nation's first departments to use the new vehicles. Testing by both the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and the Michigan State Police proved the new cars as “pursuit-rated,” according to the L.A. Times. "Pursuit-rated," according to Autoblog, means that the cars are "quick and tough enough to handle police pursuits."

“Cities have been asking us for solutions to reduce carbon emissions and costs, and agencies have been asking for greener police cars and greener pursuit vehicles,” Kevin Koswick, a director with Ford, said, reports the Los Angeles Times. “We saw a need and we thought we could fulfill it.”

Whereas the current patrol vehicles (a modified Ford Crown Victoria dubbed the Interceptor) deliver 18 miles per gallon, the new Responder Hybrids can deliver 38 miles per gallon (though, still off of the 42 miles per gallon a standard Fusion Hybrid does). Furthermore, the Hybrid maintains the Interceptor's zero to 60 time of 5.8 seconds, besting the Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Caprice (two vehicles also modified into police cruisers) by nearly a second.

According to Wired, the department stands to save $3,800 a year per vehicle in fuel costs, as well as reduced brake pad maintenance and oil changes.

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Fortune reports that the LAPD has committed to 300 additional Police Responder Hybrids within the next three years.

“Our mission for creating safe and healthy communities in Los Angeles is achieved through sustainable approaches towards community policing, and that includes embracing new technologies,” Beck said, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. “The patrol vehicle is a police officer’s office, and the LAPD expects that policing tool to not only be economically and environmentally efficient, but also an effective tool for fighting crime in a major metropolitan area."