These hybrids are fully marked and used as uniformed patrol cars.
In July 2011, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) introduced 20 Chevrolet Volts into its fleet of over 8,000 vehicles. Twelve of these Volts are fully marked. A total of 789 of those 8,000 fleet vehicles are hybrid vehicles. The testing began in 2002 with only five “non-descript” unmarked Toyota Prius. “Marked” units were deployed in 2009.
Here is the hybrid breakdown: 169 Nissan Altimas, 232 Ford Fusions, 59 Ford Escapes, 115 Toyota Priuses and 13 GMC Yukons. There are eight unmarked Chevrolet Volts, 36 T3 personal transport electric vehicles and seven Vectrix electric scooters. In addition to these, there are also Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Toyota Highlander hybrid vehicles in use.
These hybrids are not just for mail runs, undercover and administrative use! In fact, the majority are fully marked, fully equipped response units. The hybrids actually get used! The mileage on one of the Nissan Altimas is 104,593 miles…and that’s a fully marked car! See the sidebar for some MPG comparisons.
Robert S. Martinez Executive Director, NYPD Support Services Bureau, said, “I am very pleased with the results I have received since implementing this program. The vehicles have been very reliable and at public meetings, the citizens are pleased to see them out on patrol.”
Greg Dimesa, Director of Fleet Services Division, said, “The brakes last longer, and the idle time in many cases is non- existent.”
What about equipment? Fleet Services has that covered. The vehicles use all LED type lighting and contain the same emergency equipment in their trunks as non-hybrid vehicles. What has to be done to get the base vehicle service-ready? The units that do not have ignition keys must be fitted with key switches, the carpeted floor covering must be replaced with a vinyl floor covering, the seats must be recovered in vinyl for durability, and they are modified to accommodate the duty belt.
The savings for an agency this large can add up. Although the actual acquisition cost is greater, it can quickly become a distant memory. First, the gasoline savings is huge since there is little idle time. Second, there are significant savings on brake pads, which is related to regenerative braking, which slows the vehicle by the electric motor recharging the batteries at the same time. Third, there are reductions in the amount of oil changes that are required, which is a result of the reduction of idle time. Idle reduction in a city such as New York is not only saving money, but great for the environment by making the air cleaner.
Acquisition cost of the currently deployed Chevy Impala fully equipped is $30,015 and the cost of the hybrid Ford Fusion fully equipped is $39,879. These prices include all computer mounts, all wiring for three wireless systems, message signs and the Rumbler siren system. It looks like a large cost difference, but fuel, maintenance and reduced down time coupled with greater return at auction close the gap and will also show a positive return.
The hybrid vehicle cost is offset by an average of $5,000 by the PlaNYC and other green vehicle funding initiatives. As for residual value, the Impalas bring $5,000 at auction and the hybrids are anticipated to bring $10,000 due to the taxi operator demand.
Steve Contarino is the vice president of Adamson Industries, a national upfitter based in the Boston area. The company’s website is www.adamsonindustries.com. He has been a member of NAFA since 1989.