Hybrid cop car hints at Ford Mustang's petrol-electric future

2018 Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan dog_main

FORD has given a tantalising hint of the technology likely to sit beneath a hybrid version of the Mustang.

However, while Ford’s pursuit-hardened 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain will sit under the skin of a Mondeo-badged police car due on sale in the US next year, it will be a while before we see any of it adopted to the iconic US muscle car – the next Mustang isn’t due until 2020.

What Ford’s cop car does tell us, though, is that the carmaker is already thinking about ways to harden its hybrid system up for a performance bent – in order to sell the hybrid cop car to US police forces, the duotone Mondeo will need to meet a strict set of performance benchmarks – covering acceleration, braking and dynamics that should translate to whatever hybrid system is proposed for the Mustang.

In the police version, the electric motor is capable of running the car at speeds of up to about 100km/h, Ford says, before a hydrocarbon diet is needed. 

The black-and-white’s engine runs on the Atkinson cycle – the same fuel-sipping engine tune that’s used for the 2.5-litre four-pot fitted to the locally built Toyota Camry hybrid. However, while the thinking on engine tune is similar, the Ford’s fast hybrid will go one better than the Camry by using a more expensive, but lighter and more compact lithium-ion battery to power its electric motor rather than the cheaper, more bulky nickel metal hydride ones that Toyota favours.

Search for new police highway patrol cars begins

Making the hybrid system bulletproof in the Mondeo is important for Ford. It has flagged that the 2021 Mustang’s new hybrid system will deliver “V8 power and even more low-end torque” when it makes its way under the next-gen ’Stang’s bonnet.

2018 Ford Mustang spy image Automedia
Ford is also believed to be working hard on a 48-volt electrical system that’s better suited to the needs of highly strung hybrid systems, as well as allowing add-ons such as electric turbochargers, and active anti-roll suspension systems that make today’s magnetorhetoric dampers look redundant. With the Mustang, expect some pretty serious corner carving torque-vectoring tech to make its debut.

Ford’s hybrid tech is being developed in conjunction with German car components specialist Continental. This includes a new generation of hybrid systems for turbocharged cars.

According to Ford, it sells the most police vehicles in the US, so can save police forces on a significant chunk of their fuel bill each year. 

The hybrid cop car is officially rated at about 6.2L/100km compared with the 13.0L/100km average of a 3.7-litre V6 version.

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.