Ford Hopes to Follow Tesla’s Lead into Electric Police Cruisers

According to Automotive News Canada, Ford Motor Co. entered its all-electric Mustang Mach-E into last year’s annual Michigan State Police vehicle trials because of interest expressed by police departments.

The Michigan State Police trials rates vehicles based on their viability for police use after putting candidates through rigorous acceleration, braking, and handling tests on a 3.2 km track. The results are considered the benchmark for police fleet managers shopping for pursuit-rated patrol vehicles.

“We wanted to demonstrate and to prove to agencies that an all-electric vehicle could, in fact, withstand this police severe-use duty cycle,” said Greg Ebel, Ford’s police brand marketing manager. “We were pleasantly surprised with the performance.”

The Mach-E put on quite the show and proved to be an excellent contender, but lap after lap of testing took a toll on the electric crossover’s range.

The all-electric Mustang was able to run a lap of the test loop within a second of Ford’s Crown Victoria, revealed Lt. Michael McCarthy, who heads the precision-driving unit of the Michigan Police’s training division.

Despite being six seconds slower than the police fleet veteran Dodge Charger, McCarthy said “it satisfies our purchasing specs.”

However, the Mach-E needed a 40-minute recharge after each nine-lap run across the test track. “Those 18 miles use 30% of the battery,” said McCarthy said. “So if you’re driving it hard like we do there, the range is not acceptable for highway patrol.”

“What I will tell you is its acceleration on 100% battery charge is incredible,” he ceded. “It was four seconds 0-to-60, so by far the fastest thing out there. And braking — it was the best-braking vehicle that we tested this year.”

The Mustang Mach-E was named ‘EV of the Year’ for 2021 by automotive publication Car and Driver, but Ford is not labelling it a pursuit-rated vehicle.

Electric cars in police fleets aren’t exactly new, though. Teslas have been making their way into police fleets across the globe since as early as 2020, and it looks like Ford is looking to follow in the electric carmaker’s footsteps.

In December of last year, New York City ordered a whopping 250 Tesla Model 3 units for its police department, along with 184 Mustang Mach-Es from Ford.

Even in Canada, the Peel Regional Police in southern Ontario tested a Tesla for several weeks and is currently planning an electric vehicle (EV) pilot program in one of its investigative bureaus.

Ford currently accounts for over two-thirds of police vehicle sales in Canada, according to the company. The veteran automaker offers the F-150 Responder and Explorer Interceptor to Canadian police.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) maintains a fleet of over 11,000 vehicles in service and has an annual turnover of about 1,500 cars. The RCMP is also subject to the federal government’s mandated ban on new gas-powered vehicle sales, set to take effect in 2035.

The Canadian police agency is committed to achieving a net-zero-emission fleet by 2050, said national headquarters spokeswoman Camille Boily-Lavoie. The RCMP is working with other federal departments on a plan to determine the feasibility of EVs for policing, beginning next April and ending in March 2025.