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New Ford Police Interceptors deliver up to 35% better fuel economy when idling

The city and highway fuel economy ratings for the new Ford Police Interceptors (PI) have increased by 25% over the retired Crown Victoria. But as law enforcement vehicles spend the majority of their lives idling, Ford engineers also tuned the Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicle models to save fuel even when they are standing still, with no sacrifice to pursuit performance.

A recent study of police car use in Ottawa, Canada, showed the average police vehicle idles for up to 6.7 hours in every 10-hour shift. And, according to Police Fleet Magazine, the typical police vehicle wastes half a gallon of fuel for each hour it idles. Fuel economy at idle improves 35% on the Police Interceptor sedan and 32% on the Police Interceptor utility vehicle.

The base 3.5-liter V6 in the Police Interceptor sedan delivers 288 hp (215 kW) and EPA-certified fuel economy of 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway (13 and 9 L/100km). Compared to the Crown Victoria—America’s top-selling law enforcement vehicle for the past 15 years—the Police Interceptor sedan offers an improvement of 4 mpg city and 5 mpg highway, and 38 more horsepower.

The optional EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 in the all-wheel-drive Police Interceptor sedan is rated at 365 hp (272 kW) and is EPA-certified at 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway (14.7 and 10.2 L/100km). In recent Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department testing, the EcoBoost Police Interceptor beat all competitive police cars from General Motors and Chrysler in 0-60 mph acceleration tests.

Fuel economy test results from the LA Sheriff’s Department 2012 evaluations. Click to enlarge.

The Police Interceptor utility is built with a 3.7-liter V6 rated at 304 hp, with an EPA rating of 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway (14.7 and 10.7 L/100km) is best in class, topping the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV. The Police Interceptor utility out-accelerated the V8-powered Tahoe in the LASD tests, reaching 60 mph in 8.4 seconds compared with 9.5 seconds for the Tahoe.

The 3.5-liter V6 engine in the Police Interceptor sedan uses 35% less fuel idling than did the 4.6-liter V8 engine in the Crown Victoria. The 3.7-liter V6 in the Police Interceptor utility uses 32% less fuel when idling than the Crown Victoria’s engine.

All three Police Interceptor engines feature double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and Ti-VCT, or twin independent variable camshaft timing, plus several other advanced features that improve fuel economy at idle and at speed without sacrificing the performance that is required by law enforcement. A torque-sensing all-wheel-drive system is standard and unique to the Police Interceptor sedan and utility.

An example of how Ford engineers improved the fuel economy of both Police Interceptor models, beyond the powertrain changes, is outfitting the vehicles with EPAS, or electric power-assisted steering. The old-style hydraulic power steering system found on competitive police vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Caprice PPV and Dodge Charger, forces the engine to work harder—and waste fuel—at idle because the pump runs whenever the engine does.

When a Ford Police Interceptor is idling, no energy is consumed by the steering system until an officer turns the steering wheel. Other fuel improvements come from optimizing the energy consumed by the air conditioning compressor and 220 amp alternator.



When you are going 0 mph you are getting 0 mpg. That is just a fact, so unless you shut the engine off or are charging a battery, no amount of stops at doughnut stands will improve the mileage.


What they need is a smaller, lighter car--less old school.


Thats fuel economy at idle; Economy.
Not MPG.
Same battery condition
- Same AC performance
- - Less fuel.
Better fuel economy.


I understand the concept, but why idle at all?

If it were a plug hybrid, at least they could charge the battery while idling and be doing something useful.


stop / start ?

william g irwin

Lots of Etoys, so gotta keep the battery charged!
Stop/start might be helpfull, but not THE solution w/o
idle/restart for bats.


It really depends on how much you want to modify the vehicle and how large the market would be.
The police have a very different way of using their cars to everyone else so the modifications don't really benefit ordinary drivers.

As WGI points out, lots of etoys and A/C to run, so it needs a big battery and a way of keeping it charged.
Some suggestions:
- Automatically turn on the engine every so often and run it at an efficient point in its revs range.
- Have a smaller generator that can be run continuously.
- Stick some solar panels on the roof (not a good idea - probably not enough power, won't work at night or in shadows).
- Plug the car in with an inductive charger (where would you put them ?)

Best solution is probably to run the main engine for 5 minutes every hour (or whatever) at a decent speed and charge the battery in bursts.

A question - how many watts / watt hours do they need when idling ?


Make them twin turbo V6 PHEV with 8 kWh of batteries, five minutes of "idling" and you have 4 hours of air conditioning, radio and computers.


A lot of poorly thought out alternatives vs. a good design.

I suspect Ford did not have adequate input from politicians on this.


Start-Stop would work with an efficient on-board electric heat pump and a larger keep cab comfort level at a steady 22C.

Do we really need a 4000+ lbs vehicle to drive one or two police people around all day? A 2000 lbs AWD partially electrified vehicle could do it with a lot less fuel?


The idea is to have the ability to catch the bad guys, cops don't want to drive a Prius. However, if heating in the winter is a must, then the heat in the engine and radiator from 10 minutes of charging would be more than enough for hours with a heat pump.


Ford provided a value engineered solution.

Ford has not yet caught on that cost is no object.


Why are cops and cabs incapable of using 1.6L TURBODIESELS in this country?


They call them Interceptors for a reason, the bad guys can not outrun them in a faster car.


Around where I am, the cops regularly lose control of their heavy metal on curvy country roads speeding to stop a crime, and plant all that horsepower in a tree. Still in the Bonnie and Clyde era? They have radios now and many jurisdictions have put a halt to high-speed chases due to collateral damage. In Europe the cops often drive Porsches, etc. when they feel the need for speed. U.S. police chiefs buy the cars they do for reasons of tradition.

The car selected to replace New York's fleet of yellow cabs (including hulking Crown Vics), is a specially designed version of Nissan's NV200 mini-van, reportedly powered with a 4-cylinder 2-liter engine (with plans to develop an electric version). Some predict culture shock for New Yorkers accustomed to big American sedans, but when you list desired features, the heavy metal didn't stack up. You could do the same with police cars if it weren't for status quo nostalgia.


Nostalgia; it's not what it used to be.


BMW's N20 4-cylinder 2-liter turbocharged engine outputs 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of low-end torque, and when fitted in the 528i sedan gives 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds and 23 mpg city / 34 mpg hwy (compared to EPA mileage for the Ford Police Interceptor of 16 city / 23 highway). BMW has also been using electric power steering lately. With cost of gas expected to hit $4 or more . . . Just using BMW as an example of what can be done; all the pricey luxury could be dropped, of course.


Guy, anyone actually look carefully at the result of the L.A. Sheriff's Dept. fuel economy test?

It seems the Ford Police Interceptor doesn't perform that well when compared with other competitors.

e.g. Dodge Charger 3.6L 2.65 uses the least fuel, at 19.6 MPG.

The 3.5L FWD Ford (16.4 MPG) uses more fuel than Chevy Impala 3.6L (17.8 MPG), or Caprice 3.6L (17.9 MPG), or Dodge Charger 3.6L (19.1 MPG - 19.6 MPG); Charger 5.7L (16.9 MPG).


Sigh. How do you know the N20 is not one of the pricey bits?

Many municipals are cash strapped, if not literally broke.
Where's the money???


Cops should learn how to out smart those kids and criminals the way wolves out smart their prey without the use of 8000 lbs Hummers. Crashing half a dozen Crown Vics during a chase is not very smart.


You would think that with municipalities so cash poor, the article comparing different police cars would have presented initial cost, and more importantly, life-cycle costs for each (with fuel economy a major factor). But police chiefs are notorious for protecting the sovereignty of their little fiefdoms, and I can't see any of them allowing a civilian bean-counter telling them what equipment they should use for police work. They buy what they want. And I can't see any of the old boys being caught dead driving a "yuppie" car (e.g. BMW).

The article listed Chevys, a Dodge Charger, and the Ford Police Interceptor as the only cars in the running, and almost comically touts modest improvement in fuel economy compared only to the ancient Crown Victoria land barge. And that "with no sacrifice to pursuit performance." Ha!

The Police Interceptor posted a pokey 8.4 seconds 0-60 time, compared to the BMW 528i sedan's 6.2 seconds -- the latter getting MUCH better fuel economy. And that, by the way, is with the BMW's base N20 4-cylinder engine (not a pricey bit). For more performance, you can get the 5-series with 6- and 8-cylinder engines (the pricey bits).

BMW actually does build police cars; too bad we didn't see a comparison.


I doubt the police departments are slaves to driving gas hogs.

And to say "police chiefs are notorious for protecting the sovereignty of their little fiefdoms" implies that other gov agencies are better.

The police departments probably have a better idea of what size/type vehicle they need than what I see here.

I doubt we want them buying the overpriced, high maintenance, imported cars the upscale soccer moms drive.


same topic over at

In Pinecrest,FL the PD has purchased a Ford Fusion Hybrid, for $25k.. thats the way to go. The FFH is no acceleration slouch.


Smart cars and smart cops would ruin Hollywood associated movies.


Most of us don't believe the movies accurately depict the reality of what cops do - so no it wouldn't.

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