The hybrid mid-size sedans sold today by Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota are all tuned to provide maximum fuel economy.
So what did it take to fashion a standard Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan into the 2018 Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan that Ford introduced yesterday?
The company's press release was coy with actual technical details, but we were able to buttonhole an engineer during the lunch event yesterday at which Ford unveiled the car officially.
From the press materials, we knew that Ford had to recalibrate the hybrid control software to accommodate the unique duty cycles of law-enforcement use.
Ford said the Police Responder "automatically switches to maximum performance—with the engine and battery working at peak acceleration levels—when needed."
The company added that it can run in battery-only mode up to 60 mph, at least in some circumstances.
But pursuit certification by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Michigan State Police is a nontrivial accomplishment.
It certifies that a police vehicle is tough enough to handle car chases at various speeds, and has the ability to cope with such obstacles as curbs and crowded intersections.
We got a few more details from Mike Hahn, a member of the vehicle-engineering team that created the police Fusion, tested it, and got it ready for production. (Orders open this spring, with first deliveries this summer.)
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He wouldn't share all the details, he said, "because we'd prefer our competitors not know everything" the company did.
That extended particularly to the "Pursuit Mode," something like a Sport Mode except that it's triggered automatically when various drivers inputs cause the car to sense it's being used for pursuit.
Hahn was reticent about what those inputs were, suggesting only that they included steering and acceleration data.
The effect, he said, was to provide maximum output from both the engine and the hybrid system's battery and electric motor.
That maximum output "will last as long as you're driving aggressively," he said, declining to provide any statistics.
For high-speed chase capabilities, though, note that Ford's hybrid police vehicle is called a "Police Responder" sedan—not a "Police Interceptor" sedan, the name of the larger and also pursuit-rated Ford Taurus-based police sedan Ford already sells.