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Ford's NextGen Police Interceptor Concept, Part 1
Ford just revealed the replacement for its 1978-2011 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI)—the 2013 Ford Police Interceptor Concept. The CVPI will go out of production after August 2011. Importantly, and repeatedly emphasized by Ford Fleet, the NextGen Police Interceptor (NGPI) Concept is not a Taurus. Even at the earliest concept stage, the NGPI had more than 200 unique parts and processes different from the retail Taurus.
According to its Police Advisory Board, Ford made at least 100 more changes before the nationwide “reveal” in March 2010 to make it even more purpose-built. At least 100 more are in the works as the development continues. The NGPI is not a Taurus; it is a Police Interceptor, a stand-alone vehicle. Ford’s famous D3 Platform is just the starting point for the next Police Interceptor Concept. The two sedans even use different door hinge designs!
The Police Interceptor Concept is scheduled to be built in the Chicago Torrance Avenue Assembly Plant, which is Ford’s longest continuing operating assembly plant. This plant was completely retooled as a flexible manufacturing site in 2005, and it has some of the highest quality ratings of any Ford plant.
The Police Interceptor Concept is very much “Made in the USA.” The standard 3.5L engine is made in Lima, OH, while the optional 3.5L EcoBoost engine is made in Brookpark, OH, the home of Ford’s famous 351 Cleveland engine. The 6-speed auto is built in Sterling Heights, MI. The final assembly plant is in Chicago.
The Police Interceptor Concept has something for every police department. It is planned to have an economical 263 hp V6 in a Front Wheel Drive layout. Ford has not had a V6 or a FWD offering in a police package for almost 20 years. Police departments that prefer the V6 and FWD powertrain can once again look to Ford.
The Police Interceptor Concept is also planned to have All-Wheel Drive as an optional drivetrain with the base V6. To date, no police sedan has ever had the option of AWD. This has a number of benefits. The obvious one is better traction at all speeds, under all weather conditions, and on all road surfaces compared to either FWD or RWD. The AWD sedan doesn’t have the ground clearance that a 4x4 SUV has, but it has the traction, and of course, it handles better and offers a much more comfortable ride than any SUV.
Finally, the Police Interceptor Concept is also planned to have a 365 hp 3.5L V6. Called the EcoBoost and currently available in the 2010 retail Taurus SHO, this twin turbo engine makes this D3 Platform sedan as fast as the 5.7L HEMI® V8 Charger—really.
Ford also announced that a pursuit-rated Utility Police Interceptor is under development. More details will be available in the fall. Both the NGPI and the Utility Police Interceptor will be at the Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff tests this fall. The Utility Police Interceptor will have the same standards for performance, safety and durability as the NGPI.
Three Different Drivetrains
The 263 hp 3.5L V6 engine comes standard with a Front Wheel Drive layout. AWD is an option on this V6. The 365 hp V6 engine is a different option, which comes standard with the AWD. The result is three very different cars. The 263 hp FWD version promises to have the lowest initial cost, the lowest operating cost (by 1 mpg) and the least complex drivetrain (in terms of maintenance and repair).
The AWD system on the new Police Interceptor Concept is pure magic. AWD is an option with the 263 hp 3.5L V6, and AWD comes standard with the 365 hp 3.5L EcoBoost V6. Compared to any FWD sedan, this AWD sedan is a whole different experience. In fact, this AWD sedan feels every bit like a RWD sedan. When driven aggressively, the front wheels pull in the direction the driver wants to go (like any FWD), and the rear wheels push the car hard (like any RWD).
No FWD sedan can ever drive like a RWD sedan, but the AWD Police Interceptor Concept certainly feels like it! When driven hard, AWD actually feels better than RWD because the car is easier to control. The AWD instills a real sense of confidence in the driver.
During laps around both of Ford’s Proving Grounds and 1,000 miles of traffic enforcement, the AWD sedan had neutral handling. It doesn’t tail-wag (oversteer) under heavy acceleration during cornering like a RWD. However, not even RWD cars will do that in the future because federally mandated stability control will put a stop to that.
The AWD is not just for snow. It is for any road surface that is not dry and paved. Think about wet roads from rain and the possibility of hydroplaning in spots of pooled water. Think about gravel roads and sandy beaches. Think about grassy or muddy medians. And yes, think about light snow, deep snow and icy patches. The 263 hp AWD Police Interceptor Concept promises to be Ford’s best all-around patrol vehicle.
EcoBoost Turbo Durability
Some fleet managers may have concerns about the use of EcoBoost turbocharging in police cars. Police cars have never had turbochargers or superchargers. What about heat build up? What about bearing problems? What about driving at Wide Open Throttle when responding to a call and then shutting the engine off?
Just as the new retail Taurus and the NextGen Police Interceptor Concept offer a 30-year jump in technology over the old Crown Victoria and Ford CVPI, the turbo reliability in severe service has also greatly improved. Forget the turbo reliability issues from the 1980s. Those were solved by water-cooled bearings in the 1990s.
During Ford’s Road Cycle Durability dyno tests, the EcoBoost engine was started cold, run at peak power output with the engine coolant maintained at 50 F, then cold started and run at peak power with the coolant maintained at 200 F. It passed 1,000 hours, or 60,000 miles, of this testing.
In another test, the EcoBoost engine was run at Wide Open Throttle and at maximum turbo boost for 10 minutes and then abruptly shut off. The turbos and the oil in and around the turbos were allowed to “bake” until the engine cooled off. Then the same test was repeated 1,500 times without an oil change. After all this, all the turbo components were inspected. They passed.
No special oil is needed. The EcoBoost uses the same 5W-20 petroleum (non-synthetic) oil as the Ford CVPI. And the oil change interval is 7,500 miles, which is longer than the Ford CVPI.
Please see PART 2 for the rest of this article.
Published in Police Fleet Manager, Mar/Apr 2010
Rating : 7.7
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