For years, Ford Motor Co. the development and production police cars formed one of the pillars of the company’s plans bolster its sales of vehicles to commercial fleets, including those belonging to municipal governments.
Now Ford, which caught some flak from its own employees about its close relations with police departments during the protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, are beginning a campaign to get the local departments to think about the possibility of using electric vehicles on for patrolling the nation’s streets.
The automaker confirmed through a press release, which says as part of its more than $30 billion investment in electrification through 2025, “Ford is exploring all-electric, purpose-built law enforcement vehicle.”
Police, however, tend to be rather conservative in their vehicle choices and over the years they have resisted new technology such as anti-lock brakes.
Demand for electric police vehicles expected to grow
As part of the effort to show “an electric powertrain can deliver strong performance and stand up to demanding police duty cycles, Ford is submitting an all-electric police pilot vehicle based on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E SUV for testing done by Michigan State Police.”
The Michigan State Police evaluations are used by many other police departments to guide their purchasing decisions. Ford will use evaluations of the pilot vehicles built from the battery-electric Mach-Es as a benchmark for the development of future police vehicles.
The demand for purpose-built electric police vehicles in the future is expected to grow worldwide and last week Ford introduced a new Mustang Mach-E concept police car in the United Kingdom, where major cities are moving forward with restrictions on vehicles with internal combustion engines. Several police departments across the United Kingdom are eager to try out the Mach-E, Ford said.
Mach-E police vehicle
Selling a police car based on the Ford Mustang Mach-E in the United States, however, could be problematic. Many large municipalities, urban counties and even state governments have adopted “Buy American” ordinances as part their procurement requirements, which are relatively stringent.
The Ford Mach-E is made in Hermosillo, Mexico, which would appear to limit its appeal to local governments in the United States. They could face expensive litigation for going around the ordinances even under provisions of the current United States Mexico Canada Agreement, which replaced North American Free Trade Agreement in 2020.
Other Ford-made police vehicles, such as the Ford Explorer, which is made in Chicago, and the Ford-150 equipped for use by rural police departments are also made at plants in the United States.