A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. announced that it was freezing sales of its Explorer Hybrid. There was an interesting reason. The automaker has decided to give all of its Explorer Hybrid production to police departments.
Police Departments Stop Using Car
For a decade or more, police departments nationwide have fazed out what most people think of as the famed Ford Police Interceptor. The former Interceptor was based on the full-sized Ford Crown Victoria, which was last made in 2011.
If you are thinking of the Subaru Impreza perhaps the Crosstrek will work
In its place, police departments have been using Ford Explorer Explorers and Explorer Hybrids to replace the former Police Interceptors. Explorers are now known as the Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles. Of course, they must be known as utility vehicles because that is what they are: SUVs, not cars.
Ford told Motor1, one of the publications to investigate this issue, about the allocation of Explorer hybrids. A Ford spokesman said, “We do not share powertrain mix volumes externally. What I can say is that the hybrid [Explorer] is very popular among our police agencies due to the savings in lower fuel cost that agencies experience from long idle times within their duty cycles.”
Ford Action Bucks A Trend
Motor1 noted that it’s funny that “in a world where automakers are increasingly electrifying their lineups to cope with emissions and fuel economy regulations, Ford is taking the opposite approach, albeit for a unique reason. The company has decided to stop selling the 2024 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator with the hybrid powertrain to regular customers, instead focusing on deliveries of the Police Interceptor Utility hybrid.”says Motor1.
In the face of stiff demand for the Police Interceptor Utility hybrid, a Ford spokesman told Green Car Reports that the 2024 model year Explorer will only be offered with the fuel-efficient 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost powerplant. The 2.3-liter four offers an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined fuel economy. It will also be offered with the 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6.
Motor1 says the Ford Police Interceptor Utility “comes standard with a hybrid-assisted 3.3-liter V-6 that makes a total of 318 horsepower and 322 pounds-feet of torque.”
According to various sources, police departments like that the hybrid powertrain allows police officers to run their on-board equipment from the “lithium-ion battery while” the standard internal combustion engine (ICE) is shut down.
As Motor1 notes, “Ford touts this feature as being able to potentially save police forces money by improving fuel economy and reducing the powerplant’s idle time.”
You Had Better Watch Out
For those who think that they can outrun this new Police Interceptor, people should know that the Interceptor utility is also offered with a “twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6, making 400 horsepower.” It is also available with a naturally aspirated 3.3-liter V-6. This engine turns out 285 horsepower.
For those buyers who thought they would be obtaining Explorer hybrids, Ford is offering a choice of two powertrains. A turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four cranks out 300 horsepower and 310 pounds-feet of torque. There is also a twin-turbo V-6 that delivers 400 horsepower and 415 pounds-feet of torque. To meet the police demand, Lincoln Aviator customers will only be able to obtain the twin-turbo V-6.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971. His automotive articles have appeared in venues including Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. You can follow Marc on Twitter or Facebook.