Whenever I close my eyes to fantasize about police vehicles, it’s a foregone conclusion that I’m thinking about a Ford Crown Victoria. The model had a two-decade lifespan occupying departmental motor pools as the de facto police cruiser. But it’s been out of action since 2012, leaving a gigantic hole in governmental order forms that allowed other brands to flood into the space. While Ford managed to keep law enforcement interested in its SUVs (and sometimes F-Series pickups), Dodge’s Charger secured the most sedan sales by far.
Ford probably doesn’t want to find itself missing out on the most lucrative corner of the fleet market moving forward, especially as governments begin to embrace electrification. We’ve already seen the manufacturer float a few hybrid options by departments to see what they think. But now it’s ready to see how an all-electric vehicle might play. For the 2022 Model Year Police Evaluations, Ford handed the Mach-E over to Michigan State Police — giving them carte blanche to subject it to multiple days of abuse in order to establish whether or not it’s worthy of active duty.
If you’re a nerd that gets aroused by comparative testing, you’re going to like these evaluations. The Michigan State Police provide a buffet of data points and they’re used by other departments to help decide whether or not they’re interested in throwing departmental funds at specific models.
While the 2022 model year results likely won’t arrive until November, Ford seems more interested in seeing what cops think of the Mach-E than actually hoping to sell them in large quantities. EVs have an extremely limited history with police departments and most of it is kind of sad. The best example of this is probably the glut of BMW i3s purchased by the LAPD. Los Angeles bought roughly 100 units in 2016 and the logic was that the fuel savings would easily offset the $1.4 million it cost the police force to secure them from BMW. But nobody was driving them for official purposes, save for the occasional bout of parking enforcement, making the whole thing giant waste of money.
Considering Ford’s prolonged relationship with American law enforcement, Blue Oval doesn’t want to screw this up and has said that the Mach-E is primarily there to help it “explore purpose-built electric police vehicles in the future.”
Europe is also getting a taste, with Safeguard SVP outfitting some Mach-Es for testing in the United Kingdom. Early testing has given us a sense of how they’ll be equipped. The UK Fords have all been issued extended-range batteries and rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. They’re also said to be capable of hitting 100 kph (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds with the added equipment with the top speed remaining limited at 111 mph. Range is allegedly unaffected, thanks to accessories drawing from a separate 12-volt battery. That means 305 miles for rear-drive units, with all-wheel drive models needing a recharge right around 270 miles.
While several EVs have been adapted for police use in Europe, the take rate is substantially lower in the United States. New York City has long used the Toyota Prius (in tandem with the Smart ForTwo) for parking enforcement. But departments have largely avoided pure battery-electric automobiles. Meanwhile, Seattle has been using the Nissan Leaf to read the meters since 2015 and there are a few places you might see a Chevrolet Bolt with red and blue lights on the roof scattered across the nation.
Electric or not, the Mustang Mach-E is a very different machine than the electric and hybrid cars currently employed by American police departments and we’re wondering how it’s gone to compare to the gasoline-powered mainstays. What do you think? Is the Mach-E fit for service or will this ultimately be a learning experience Ford can use to make the F-150 Lightning more palatable to law enforcement?
[Images: Ford Motor Co.]
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