With the U.S. retail market beginning the shift from internal combustion to all-electric propulsion, it’s only a matter of time before commercial and fleet markets follow. Already the largest provider of law enforcement vehicles, Ford hopes to tap demand with the introduction of a special police version of its new F-150 Lightning pickup.
The Lightning Pro SSV undergoes a number of special modifications, from its roof-mounted lights to “easy-to-clean” rear seats, the automaker said today.
“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,” Nate Oscarson, Ford Pro national government sales manager said in a statement announcing the new special edition.
Dominating the market
Ford provides about two-thirds of the police vehicles sold in the U.S., according to industry data. General Motors and Stellantis dominate the remaining share.
The F-150 Lightning SSV is a modified version of the all-electric pickup that went into product this past April. The automaker is betting it will appeal to law enforcement operations for a variety of reasons, starting with its performance. Depending upon the trim package, the police version of Lightning can hit 60 in under 4 seconds, while top speed data for the interceptor package wasn’t release, the civilian model can hit 112 mph.
Two powertrain options will be available for the F-150 Lightning SSV. The base version makes 452 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, can tow up to 7,700 pounds and haul a 2,235-pound payload. With the extended-range battery, Lightning SSV will bump the pony count to 580, while towing climbs to 10,000 pounds.
Customized for law enforcement
The truck can deliver up to 320 miles of range with the extended battery pack, and EVs do well in urban environments where stop-and-go driving allows them to regenerate power normally lost during braking and coasting. The automaker also pointed to the pickup’s large “frunk,” or front trunk, which gives it a closed and lockable storage space, unlike traditional pickups. There’s also the Pro-Power Onboard system which can serve as an in-vehicle generator. Depending upon the configuration, it can provide up to 9.6 kilowatts of energy.
Compared to the civilian and fleet versions of the electric pickup, the Lightning Pro SSV adds:
- “Police-grade” cloth seats up front with bolstering modified for the holsters and other tools on police belts;
- Vinyl rear seats and flooring that can be easily cleaned;
- Protective steel intrusion plates in the back of the front seats;
- Roof-mounted lighting;
- And a reinforced instrument panel that can modified for computers and other police gear.
Ford plans to offer special financing and will assist authorities in setting up charging systems. The base version of the F-150 Lightning Pro starts just under $40,000 before delivery.
Pricing for the SSV will be revealed before the first police pickups go on sale later this summer.
The market for police vehicles is a lucrative one. The nation’s largest police force, the New York Police Department, typically purchases around 1,000 vehicles annually. Ford alone sold a record 41,221 police vehicles in 2019 — though demand dropped during the COVID pandemic.
The Interceptor version of the Ford Explorer starts at $39,590 before delivery fees, and it can run up $59,175 once those SUVs are fully equipped. By comparison, a base version of the civilian Explorer starts at $35,510.
Law enforcement begins to electrify
Ford isn’t the only automaker looking for opportunities to electrify the nation’s police fleets. Mercedes-Benz’s Smart brand sold 250 of its electrified two-seaters to the NYPD. The Los Angeles police department has purchased a handful of electrified vehicles. And law enforcement departments have not only bought all-electric sedans and SUVs but also a small number of electric motorcycles, as well.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, authorities announced in March they will begin examining the potential of going all-electric. The community, the home of the University of Michigan, has already been shifting from conventional gas cruisers to more efficient hybrids — including a version of the Ford Explorer introduced several years ago. The city’s manager of sustainability told local news station WXYZ hybrids helped the department save 50,000 gallons of gas in 2020.