NYPD Altima HybridEnlarge Photo
As part-time New York City residents, we're pleased our colleague Richard Read gave props to the NYPD for their purchase of 40 Nissan Altima Hybrids to be used on patrol duty. Those Altimas will join a fleet of Toyota Prius traffic patrol cars already in use by New York's Finest.
The idea of using hybrids for city patrol work is not as bizarre as it seems. It doesn't always go over well--as Dennis Durham, city manager of Parchment, Michigan, found out when his tiny town purchased a Prius--but it makes undeniable sense.
But the default New York City speed limit is 30 miles per hour (Parchment, too, come to think of it). And cramming motor vehicles into Manhattan's early 19th-century street plans generates traffic so horrendous it averages roughly 7 miles an hour through Midtown, with some blocks as low as 2.7 mph.
With their stop-start operation and the ability to travel short distances purely on electricity, hybrids are perfectly suited to modern urban traffic. And despite The French Connection and other movies, most NYC patrol cars never see a high-speed chase. Just lots of door dings.
New York joins many other areas--among them Illinois, London, Cracow, Poland, Beijing, and of course little Parchment, Michigan--in using hybrids as police cars. (The single greatest fleet use of hybrids in New York, though, remains the rapidly greening taxi fleet.)
Parchment police officer Brad Fall with the town's 2008 Toyota Prius. [PHOTO: Tess McEnroe | Kalamazoo Gazette]Enlarge Photo