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Ford Police Advisory Board News

Ford’s Police Advisory Board met in Dearborn with a keynote speech by Edsel Ford II, the great-grandson of Henry Ford and on the Board of Directors with Ford Motor Company. He is clearly proud that Ford Motor Company has such a leadership position in public safety.

Using Ford archives, he traced the police use of Ford vehicles back to the Model T. A photo of the 1922 Model T in use by the West Virginia State Police proved the point. The flathead V8 was what really gave the Ford Model A the edge for police work.

With obvious pride, Edsel Ford told the gathered fleet managers, “In 1950, Ford Motor Company became the first automaker to offer a police package.” And the rest is police fleet history-Ford Motor Company has been producing police package vehicles ever since. And what car does he drive? A Taurus SHO, which has the twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine.

Edsel Ford II is the most recent in a long line of senior Ford officials who have demonstrated their commitment to the police community by meeting at length with the PAB. Others have included Jim Farley, vice present of Global Marketing, Sales and Service; Mark Fields, Ford Chief Operating Officer; and Alan Mulally, Ford’s President and Chief Executive Officer.


Police Vehicle Sales

There are many ways to calculate or report market share: orders, deliveries, year to year, model year, registration. Each has challenges, not the least of which is sales volatility month to month. In the most general of terms, Ford Motor Company sells the most NextGen police vehicles. The ratio of Utility: Sedan continues to trend toward the Utility. During the fall meeting, this ratio was roughly 65:35, Utility: Sedan.

Ford Fleet has recently had some significant personnel changes. Two men who guided the transition from Ford CVPI to the NextGen Police Interceptors have moved on. Bill Gubing, the chief engineer during the launch, has moved to Escape and been replaced by Arie Groeneveld. Gerry Koss has retired. The two Police Interceptors are the combined market leaders thanks in large part to these two business leaders.


PI Sedan Special Service Police

Ford made two big announcements around the time of the PAB meeting. A unique Special Service Police (SSP) package is available for the Sedan based around the super-economical 2.0L EcoBoost I4 engine. The entire purpose of the Special-Service Police Sedan is to be the most fuel-efficient, full-size sedan for police admin use, all the while being police package durable.

“Not every police officer needs pursuit-rated vehicles, and as agencies look to replace older, less-efficient V8-equipped cruisers with more efficient vehicles, Ford wants to offer the most efficient—yet still very capable—full-size police vehicle available,” Jonathon Honeycutt said. Any police option available on the PI Sedan is available on the Special Service Police Sedan. In addition to being more efficient than the 3.5L FWD, 3.7L AWD, or 3.5L EcoBoost variants, the new Special-Service Police Sedan retains all the essential police DNA like safety, durability, upfit friendly, and purpose built. The sedan will also offer Active Grille Shutters that manage airflow to optimize the balance between engine cooling and aerodynamics. And commonality of parts will remain an integral part of the 2.0L Special-Service Police Sedan.

While the SSPolice Sedan is all Police Interceptor—brakes, suspension, spring rates, interior—the vehicle is non-pursuit rated. Only the engine/trans and tires/wheels are different. According to Ford, the SSP Sedan is OK for short pursuits, for short amounts of emergency driving. (According to the IACP, the average length of a pursuit is 5.5 minutes.) The SSP Sedan is not pursuit-rated but has been tested at 75 mph rear, offset crashes like both the PI Sedan and PI Utility.


Ward’s 10 Best Engines

The 2.0L EcoBoost engine recently gained notoriety as a Ward’s 10 Best Engines winner. The 2.0L I4 combines the technologies of direct injection and turbocharging plus twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). The result is 240 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque—the power of a V6 and fuel efficiency of a 4-cylinder engine.

The addition of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine means that agencies will now have four choices of powertrains in the PI Sedan, including a V6 lineup that outperforms V8 engines of years past. The PI Sedan is available with a 3.5L V6 with Front-Wheel Drive, a 3.7L V6 with All-Wheel Drive, and the 365 hp 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine with All-Wheel Drive. This allows police to choose the power plant that best meets their patrol requirements.


Steering & Handling Course

The PAB members—fleet managers, EVOC instructors, chiefs & sheriffs—had a chance to drive the SSP Sedan. We compared the 250 hp, 4.6L Ford CVPI to the 240 hp, 2.0L SSP Sedan on Ford’s Steering and Handling Perimeter course at the Dearborn Development Center.

A word about the course. It was designed for engineering development and is not particularly fun to drive. I have raced sports car-class Mustangs on road racing courses in four states. The Steering and Handling course is not a race track—it is a proving ground tool. It has some extremely difficult turns, curves, dips, rises and transitions. With very little effort you can bottom out the chassis and seconds later find yourself airborne…while turning.

To reward you for making it through the tight and awkward parts, the course opens up to a nice straight and a very high-speed sweeping turn. Bottom line? If the vehicle has any weak areas in handling, steering, acceleration or braking, THIS course will find it immediately. This is what it is there for.

First, we drove the Ford CVPI. Yep, driven them for 20 years and know everything about how they work on the street. No surprises whatsoever. The Ford CVPI is the nation’s benchmark for police cars.

Next, the SSP Sedan. Virtually, every PAB member was prepared to be underwhelmed, all set to drive a sedan with an “OK” 4-cylinder engine and “OK” overall performance. Virtually, every PAB member had the same reaction when climbing out of the SSP Sedan—surprise.

We all used some form of that word—surprise, impressed, better than I thought, totally satisfied. More than a few commented on getting that much power, that much throttle response, from a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine in a full-size sedan.

Overall, the 2.0L EcoBoost I4 in the SSP Sedan performs midway between the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 and 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 while getting better mileage than either. The SSP Sedan clearly outperforms the Ford CVPI.


Torque Without Torque Steer

The Special-Service Police Sedan is available as a FWD only. Even though one section of the Steering & Handling course is a tight hairpin, the SSP Sedan did not behave like a FWD. There was no torque steer even though the 2.0L EcoBoost engine has as much torque as the 3.7L V6 and more torque than the 3.5L V6. In fact, at 270 lb-ft, the 2.0L I4 has 91 percent of the torque of the 4.6L V8 in the Ford CVPI…and gets it at just 3,000 rpm instead of the V8’s 4,000 rpm.

The SSP Sedan did not have that other irritating trait with most FWD cars: excessive understeer or push. In fact, it was hard to tell the FWD 2.0L SSP Sedan from the AWD 3.7L PI Sedan. Of course, you could make the SSP Sedan understeer, but it took a deliberate effort using the worst style of driving. In typical police admin use, even when in a hurry, the PI Sedan SSP won’t understeer. Ford calls it Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control. It works.

Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control, standard on all the Taurus models, are two innovative enhancements to AdvanceTrac® with electronic stability control (ESC).

Torque Vectoring Control transfers torque to the wheels that have the most grip. It uses braking to adjust the speed between the front wheels while you’re accelerating through a corner, forcing the front end to hug the inside of the curve and provide a better grip. Torque Vectoring Control creates a firm connection to the road that’s assuring to every driver.

Curve Control will slow you down when it senses that you’re going too fast into a particular curve. Employing throttle reduction and 4-wheel braking intervention, it’s always active in helping you maintain control. The SSP Sedan may be a FWD-only sedan, but it has a very balanced feel, even on the proving ground course designed to show any shortcoming.


Maximum Fuel Economy

At this point, Ford is targeting the police admin fleet, that 20 percent of the total police fleet that can be non-pursuit, but needs to have maximum fuel economy in a full-size sedan. The EPA estimates are 20 City-30 Highway-24 Combined. This does indeed beat the Impala 9C1 at 18 City-30 Highway and Charger Pursuit V6 at 18 City-27 Highway.

The 2.0L EcoBoost I4 engine is a $600 option. The expectation is that the option will more than pay for itself compared to the EPA estimates of both the 3.5L V6 and 3.7L V6 engines in the PI Sedan. The 2.0L I4 uses 35 percent less gasoline than the 3.L V6 at idle. The 2.0L EcoBoost I4 is not flex fuel-certified.

The SSP Sedan uses a very different tire and wheel than the PI Sedan/PI Utility. It is a Michelin 255/45 tire on a 19-inch wheel, compared to a Goodyear 245/55 tire on an 18-inch wheel. The Michelin “eco” tire was needed to achieve the maximum fuel economy—the entire purpose of this full-size sedan.

The Special-Service Police 2.0L Sedan in one word? Impressive.


PI Utility 3.5L EcoBoost V6

The other powertrain news was the new option of the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 in the PI Utility. The 3.5L EcoBoost V6 in the PI Utility is exactly the same optional engine as the optional 3.5L EcoBoost V6 in the PI Sedan. The new EcoBoost package includes the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine, unique Interceptor badging, deflector plate, new front fascia, and chrome tip exhaust.

The retail Ford Explorer Sport got this powerhouse engine in 2013, which gave Ford PAB members hope that it would soon make the police lineup. Even though the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 was already in a retail Explorer, it was a major engineering accomplishment to upgrade the drivetrain to police package status. Engine cooling was the emphasis of the engineering team.

Heat-rise tests are strictly confidential and proprietary. However, consider this old heat-rise test performed by one automaker: In 100 deg F weather conditions, run the engine at Wide Open Throttle for an entire tank of gasoline. Cooling tests for police package vehicles are tougher today.

The most obvious change to the PI Utility with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 is the unique, blocked-off grille. Looks are deceiving. The grille on the 3.7L PI Utility only appears to be open. It, too, is mostly blocked off behind the grille exterior.

The 3.5L EcoBoost Utility did indeed get a taller, higher flow radiator. The trans cooler was raised slightly to be more in the air flow. The radiators and coolers are stacked one on top of the other, vertically rather than sandwiched one behind the other horizontally.

Other than the radiator and cooler changes, and gobs more torque, the 3.5L EcoBoost PI Utility and the 3.7L Ti-VCT PI Utility are virtually the same vehicle. There was some minor software tuning to the transmission calibration, the stability control parameters, and the AWD engagement parameters. The front stabilizer bar on the EcoBoost PI Utility is stiffer than the standard PI Utility. The result is once again balanced handling from a crossover with big V8 power.


Side By Side

To see and feel the difference between the standard and optional engines, the PAB members did a bit of drag racing: 365 hp 3.5L EcoBoost PI Utility versus 304 hp 3.7L Ti-VCT PI Utility. Side by side on a 1,000-foot drag strip against the 3.7L PI Utility, the 3.5L EcoBoost PI Utility is quicker from 0 to 60 mph. The 60 to 120 mph performance is much quicker. In measured numbers, the 3.5L EcoBoost PI Utility is almost two seconds faster to 60 mph and more than five seconds faster to 100 mph than the 3.7L version.

The really good news about the 3.5L EcoBoost engine in the PI Utility is how low key the power and performance is. Unlike the concern of some chiefs and sheriffs, the 3.5L EcoBoost does not turn the PI Utility into a fire-breathing monster. The PI Utility with the 3.5L EcoBoost is extremely drivable. The twin-turbo V6 is definitely not “too much” engine.

The PI Utility with either the 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 or the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 has a top speed of 131 mph. Using the new MySpeed fleet management tool, the top speed can be set at any speed from 90 mph up to the limited top speed in 5 mph increments.

Bottom line? The PI Utility with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 is faster than the 3.7L PI Sedan and has more room. The PI Utility is clearly the best handling of any police-package or special-service packaging crossover/SUV on the market. The 3.5L EcoBoost Utility has zero torque steer…and the twin-turbo V6 produces almost 20 percent more torque than the 4.6L V8 in the Ford CVPI.


Michigan State Police Results

During the PAB meeting, the results of the recent Michigan State Police tests were discussed. Basically, the MSP tests were a statistical tie between similar competitive sedans. The 350 hp(+) V8 and turbo V6 sedans all ran the same. The base V6 sedans (FWD, RWD, AWD) all ran the same.

Among the crossover/SUVs, the PI Utility with the 3.5L EcoBoost was a stand-alone, hands-down winner in acceleration and handling. While the base 3.7L V6 PI Utility had acceleration, braking, top speed, and EPA fuel estimates similar to the 5.3L V8 Tahoe, it had much quicker road course times. In fact, the base 3.7L V6 PI Utility equaled the based V6 sedans around the Grattan race track.

It was also noted that the MSP tests the vehicles exactly the drivetrain mode each manufacturer requests. The Ford sedans and crossovers are run in the default mode. That is the condition the vehicle is in at the beginning of each key-ON cycle. The Dodge sedans are run with the Electronic Stability Program (stability control) in partial-OFF mode. This must be manually selected by the driver with each key-ON cycle.

The Chevrolet sedans and SUVs are run in performance mode (where equipped) in which the stability control and traction control are partially OFF, and with the Caprice, with the transmission in Sport mode. Both of these settings must be selected by the officer with each key-ON cycle.


Ford Credit

Dan Ruden, PAB member and chief of the Lincoln, Calif. Police Department, and James DeYonke, Ford Credit Municipal Finance department Marketing Coordinator, teamed up to explain the Ford Credit Municipal Finance Program. The same money outlay to buy four cars can lease purchase 15 cars, and Lincoln, Calif. was the case study.

The Ford Credit Municipal Finance Program provides a non-appropriations clause in its lease purchase contracts. This clause assists municipalities in obtaining budget approval that are not permitted to finance anything beyond the budget year.

The Ford Credit Municipal Finance Program can be written for two- to five-year terms, has no mileage caps, and requires no security deposit. The department will own the vehicles at the end of the lease. Finally, the cost of upfitting and an extended service plan can be included in the financing. Watch the pages of Police Fleet Manager for detailed coverage of the Ford Credit Municipal Finance Program and the Lincoln, Calif. police case study.


LAPD Embedded Screen

Randy Freiburger, special vehicle engineering supervisor, presented the details of the Lectronix-Havis-Ford-LAPD Embedded Screen…the technology buzz of the season. The NextGen in-dash mounted screen in Ford’s Police Interceptor Sedan and Police Interceptor Utility is the LAPD’s vision of the future police vehicle, the next step forward in police interiors and upfitting.

The LAPD design puts an emphasis on officer safety and comfort, ergonomics (human machine interface), saving interior space and technology integration. New police car infrastructures demand the safe mounting and the easy use of multiple radio connections, multiple video inputs, relocated HVAC and vehicle controls, radar detection, ALPR systems, laptop-tablet computers, printers, and other upfitted enforcement gear.

With more law enforcement devices added to smaller police vehicles, the in-dash screen is a major upfit solution. The LAPD worked with Havis, Australia’s National Safety Agency and Lectronix to jointly develop this solution. Officers will have an integrated screen with touch controls for all of the upfitted emergency and communication equipment.

Ford’s design effort led Havis to make a dash molding that precisely and securely wraps a Lectronix monitor. Computer Aided Design data from Ford allowed Havis to use factory OEM mounting points for the screen’s location and all the required fasteners. Lectronix custom software provides the technology to complete the integration. Ford, Lectronix and Havis have also designed the system with capability to integrate voice command and PA functions with the OEM microphone.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jan/Feb 2014

Rating : 9.0

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No Torque Steer - Really?

Posted on : Oct 24 at 1:46 PM By R McCreary

our 2014 PIU with 3.5L power plant has noticeable torque steer, unlike our 2013 PIU with a 3.7L power plant. If this problem is merely tweaking of software, then Ford needs to relay this solution to the field where those experiencing torque steer find it distracting at best and dangerous at worst, especially during pursuit operations.

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