Barrie Police watching U.S. trials of hybrid police vehicles

Would they perform well in a Barrie winter?

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is on the road to replacing its 10,000 gas-powered vehicles with electric or hybrid vehicles.

And Barrie Police are keeping a close eye on how it shakes down.

Ford has put together a Fusion-based vehicle it says is faster and more fuel-efficient than the current gas models.

The automaker says the vehicles will save 5600 litres of fuel per cruiser per year.

NYPD spends about $15-million per year on fuel.

The bulk of the savings would come from the estimated five hours the vehicles sit idling during an eight-hour shift. The electric motor on the hybrid allows the gas engine to turn off during those periods, which not only saves fuel but also cuts down on tailpipe emissions.

Fleet managers with NYPD have been assessing the on-road performance of the vehicles at their driver-training facility to ensure they meet or exceed current standards.

So far, so good.

Barrie Police Corporate Communications Coordinator, Peter Leon, says while the hybrid vehicles look good on paper and may perform well on the streets of New York, there are added challenges in Barrie, “We want to make sure it’s going to be able to perform in the weather we encounter in this area during the winter months. It’s something we’re going to look at.”

A new optional feature on the vehicles will alert the officers if someone comes up from behind them. It automatically rolls up the windows, locks the doors, and warns the officers.