In a number of articles here at CleanTechnica, we’ve covered the various trials of EVs in police service. Early on, the first modern mass-produced EVs were modified EVs that weren’t purpose-built for policing, leaving police departments and other public safety entities with higher costs and some compromises. One Washington police chief even said that he loved using EVs in his department, but that they really needed something better than the Tesla Model 3, because there were drawbacks.
Fortunately, Ford is answering that call. After Ford got a Mustang Mach-E police-rated and partnered with the New York Police Department with a custom Mach-E, it is now ready to move on to other police vehicles. The latest police offering? Ford’s and the United States’ first electric pickup truck purpose-built for police: the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro Special Service Vehicle.
This isn’t Ford’s first rodeo. Ford has been supplying police forces with the vehicles they need to safeguard and serve communities for more than 70 years. More than 12,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States currently use Ford Pro, and its police vehicle line outsells all other police vehicles combined. The company credits this popularity and customer loyalty to close ties with consumers, particularly the Ford Police Advisory Board, which is made up of law enforcement professionals from around the country.
“We’re proud to offer America’s first electric police pickup truck to local government customers who can use the truck’s game-changing technology to help improve their productivity,” said Nate Oscarson, Ford Pro national government sales manager. “Pro Power Onboard can serve as a mobile power source to light up evening accident scenes on the highway, the electric powertrain helps to potentially reduce costs associated with fuel and scheduled maintenance needs and the Mega Power Frunk provides extra lockable storage on top of purpose-built police additions our customers have come to expect from the leader in police vehicles.”
The 2023 F-150 Lightning Pro SSV combines the benefits of an electric powertrain with law enforcement-specific interior features of the F-150 Police Responder, including police-grade heavy-duty cloth seats, built-in steel intrusion plates, and available roof-mounted LED warning beacons.
How Ford Made This Work Better For Public Safety Agencies
The F-150 Lightning Pro SSV is a specialized tactical vehicle designed to assist departments in non-pursuit operations, such as at an accident or crime scene, as well as provide the ability to tow a boat or trailer. The following are some of the purpose-built elements incorporated into F-150 Police Responder® by Ford Police:
- Cloth seats with less cushioning along the edges to make it easier for cops wearing a holster to get in and out of the car.
- The front seatbacks incorporate built-in steel intrusion plates.
- Red/blue, amber/white roof-mounted LED warning beacons are available, and from the factory.
- For simple installation of police equipment, the instrument panel top tray is upfit-friendly.
- Vinyl flooring and vinyl rear seats are easy to clean.
Standard features for the police version of the F-150 Lightning include the same great features private buyers have loved, including:
- A 12-inch digital cluster screen and a 12-inch landscape-style touchscreen are located in the center stack.
- Mega Power Frunk gives officers the standard 14.1 cubic feet of lockable cargo area in the front, while also offering easy access for shops installing police equipment to locate a 220-amp DC-DC power source.
- 452 horsepower, 775 lb.-ft. of torque, 7,700-pound towing capacity and 2,235 maximum payload with a standard-range battery, and sub-four-second 0-60 mph acceleration, 580 horsepower, 775 lb.-ft. of torque, and 10,000-pound towing capability with the extended-range battery
- Standard technology features: Intelligent Range, Ford SYNC 4, over-the-air updates and Ford Co-Pilot360, which comes with Automatic Emergency Braking, Blindspot Information, and cross-traffic alerts when backing up.
Ford’s F-150 Lightning PPV also has all of the advantages of Ford Pro vehicles that we’ve written about before:
- Available Ford E-Telematics information, insights and range management, vehicle health and more.
- Established network of more than 650 electric vehicle-certified Ford Commercial Vehicle Centers and 2,300 Ford electric vehicle-certified dealers.
- Consultating services to help departments with charging installation and operation, data management and digital services
- Ford Pro financing to help with not only vehicles, but also with charging station installation and other EV needs.
- Ford Pro’s Body Builder Advisory Service helps departments choose accessories and options
Why This Matters
In a story I linked earlier, the police in Spokane, Washington, explained that they loved many things about electric vehicles. The low cost of operation, less maintenance, great acceleration, and everything else about the drivetrain was great. Sadly, the stock Model 3 seats didn’t give police officers room for duty belts, which carry everything from handcuffs to a holster for their sidearm. The Model 3’s large center display is usually great for private drivers, but the non-optional computer got in the way of the display, sometimes leaving police officers unable to see essential things like range and speedometer.
So, it was pretty obvious that police needed a vehicle that was built with them in mind, and that’s exactly what Ford’s delivering with this vehicle. Police officers will be able to do all of the things they normally do without having to give up the benefits of electric.
Like postal and delivery vehicles, police vehicles benefit more from going electric than most vehicles. If you’ve ever walked by a scene police were responding to, you’ve probably seen several vehicles idling their fuel away while cops were doing something away from the vehicle. They do that because they have a lot of equipment running that would end up leaving them with a dead battery if left on without the engine running.
But, with an EV, that equipment can get its power without wasting much range and without wasting a bunch of fuel turning a little alternator. So, with an EV, police agencies and the jurisdictions that pay for their fuel stand to save a TON of money. Every city, county, and state has limited money, so saving that fuel money leaves more money for things people need.
I hope we see more manufacturers come out with specialized versions of vehicles for police like Ford did here.
Featured image provided by Ford.
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