Hybrids Gutless according to Highway Patrol

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by abq sfr, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    For Interceptor use, I'm starting to see a few Dodge Charger Hemi. The No Frills interior and exterior are a dead giveaway. Every one I have seen uses a LED flasher system mounted to the front headliner and rear parcel shelf, unless they are flashing the warning system is very hard to spot

    Another good Interceptor would be the Pontiac G8 GT, which is actually a Holden Commodore SS. The 6 litre V8 in that thing promises under 6 second 0-60 times

    Considering the legal and liability issues of a high speed pursuit, and how most of them have an ending like a Demolition Derby, I doubt we'll see much more true pursuits. I don't care if that police interceptor has Brembo brakes, if a little kid happens to dart out of a driveway during a pursuit, that kid is dead and the department is facing a *huge* civil action

    I don't think a Prius would make a good police cruiser in the US or Canada. In the US, more new cruisers are being ordered with Ballistic packages, due to the increasing incidence of ambush and assault against police officers. Officer assault is also increasing in Canada too. Add +400 lbs to a car, that tends to affect performance

    In the age of instant communications, airborne surveillance, a pursuit is usually unnecessary and almost always dangerous. However, backing off on pursuits may not be the answer. Here in Canada, the RCMP have a strict Pursuit policy and almost always back off, especially in an urban area.

    That doesn't seem to encourage the punk or the drunk behind the wheel to slow down though. They still blow a red light at high speed and kill someone. Like these little darlings did

    Mike on Crime What’s with all the teen girl attitude?

    I don't have the answer to high speed pursuits. The entire concept of the pursuit appears to be an American, and to a lesser degree, a Canadian one.
     
  2. Fraser

    Fraser New Member

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    I come down on the side of traditional high-powered cars. Never mind mileage or 0-60 figures. The cars need to be heavier, as was mentioned, because of the loads they carry (a prisoner kicked the window out of a sheriff's car here recently and escaped; he would have had no more difficulty with a Prius window). Take a 225-250-pound officer (with belt and accessories), add the radio equipment and computers, perhaps a second officer, possibly a shotgun, fencing between the seats, and there's a lot of tonnage. The cars need to be able to block traffic and in rare cases knock other cars off the road or push stranded vehicles. I love our Prius; it won't do those jobs. And not many police forces have helicopters.

    In the late 1970s, when gas prices doubled, Amarillo, Texas, cops started driving Ford Falcons. OK for around town, terrible on open highways. They soon got rid of them.
     
  3. PriusSport

    PriusSport senior member

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    Hey--that cop needs one of those A123 Li ion-powered motorcycles that does 0-60 in less than 1 second.
    There are some powerful Li ion batteries just over the horizon that will blow away ICE engines. The key is all that low end torque an ICE can't match. And with no transmission requiring time to shift--there are some very fast police and racing cars coming sooner than you think. It's a different paradigm. A tough switch for car companies--a lot of inertia to overcome.
     
  4. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    OK, but which one holds more donuts?

    Ordered and had built an OEM "plain brown wrapper" Chevy NOVA cruiser in the
    mid-70's because I couldn't afford a BMW "Bavaria." Get-up-and-go ain't the
    half of what specialty built police cruisers cars have. Extra-heavy duty
    everything: radiator, alternator, tranny cooler, roll-bars front and rear,
    shocks, brakes and brake lines, battery, oil pump, gas pump, watr pump,
    fan, rims and tires, calibrated speedo to 120 when a legal speedo went only
    to 80 IIRC, and I think the rear axle had an anti-wind-up link.

    It handled better than the Camaro Z28.

    Forget subtlety; Corvette engine, 4 barrel carb. When you really "put your
    foot in it," I swear, you could actually see the gas gauge go down. It could
    be parked in gear against a wall for 30 min. without overheating.

    There's simply no way any currently available hybrid could take the daily
    abuse that a built from the ground up police car will just shrug off.

    [Edit] I drove that car for 14 years. Only mod was an after-market cruise
    control. I changed the oil, tranny fluid, etc as as per the owner's manual.
    It never faltered or sputtered. Other than routine maintenance, tires, etc,
    I spent ~$700 on repairs. It was a loveable brick of a car, and would never
    say "Die."

    Sometimes I miss that car, but now I couldn't afford to drive it three days
    in a month.

    FWIW
     
  5. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Coming from having a 287 hp Nissan 350Z and a former 255 hp 02 Nissan Maxima (and having drag raced both at tracks), the Prius would make a VERY poor pursuit vehicle. About the only passenger car sold today that it could beat in acceleration would be Smart Fortwo.

    The Prius runs the 1/4 mile in the high 17s to mid 18s. The best I got in my Z was ~14.5 (stock manual Zs can run in the upper 13s). The power difference between my Z and Maxima vs. Prius are NIGHT and DAY, esp. on the highway. From personal experience, beating someone in the 1/4 mile by 1 second is HUGE.

    The Prius' max speed of ~104 mph is crap compared to most other cars. Many cars are governed at ~130 mph due to tires and my Z is governed at ~155 mph.

    Yeah, I think a lot of people here would be up in arms if police departments when wholesale buying non-American cars.

    The other prob is that police departments don't really seem to want to buy front wheel drive cars (the Impalas are sort of the exception). Here's one reason why (per The Dodge Intrepid police car)
    "Why rear wheel drive?

    Many were taught to drive rear wheel drive vehicles, and make use of oversteer (front wheel drive tends to understeer instead); others note that hitting the curb at high speeds can take a front drive car out of action completely, and requires a new CV joint. To a degree, modern front-drive squads (at least in the Impala) address problems of the earlier ones: heavy-duty engine cradles can prevent damage, and good engineering overcomes torque steer, if not understeer."

    Performance Review: Police cars mentions "
    CHEVROLET: Front-wheel-drive (fwd) vehicles have been slow to gain acceptance in the police market. However, Chevrolet engineers designed the fwd Impala from the ground-up as a police car. In this case, the civilian versions are also fitted with standard components that were designed for police duty.
    Many fwd vehicles are disabled after seemingly minor front-end collisions. Chevrolet engineers designed an engine cradle for the Impala that will survive striking a 6-inch curb at a speed of 25 mph, with only damage to the tires and/or wheels."

    I've read about (but can't find the quote now) about the hitting a curb (in pursuits) at high speed in FWD cars (including the FWD Impala) basically costing hundreds of $ vs. no significant damage on RWD cars.

    If you're curious about the tests made by law enforcement, see JUSTNET - Police Patrol Vehicles, specifically http://www.nlectc.org/pdffiles/msp2007report.pdf.

    If you want to "bench race", it took Car and Driver 39.6 seconds to do 0 - 100 mph in a Prius per www.caranddriver.com/content/download/100711/1306461/version/1/file/CD02_PRIUS.pdf. In the above MSP report, the slowest 0-100 was a Tahoe at 23.45 seconds and the fastest was a Dodge Charger w/5.7L V8 at 16.32 seconds w/a top speed of 148 mph.

    The Altima Hybrid and Accord Hybrid would've been the best choices for pursuit use from an acceleration POV but they're FWD.
     
  6. mingoglia

    mingoglia Member

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    I personally wouldn't want a front wheel drive uni-body car as a police cruiser for reasons cited already. Front wheel drive is more easily damaged, tends to be lighter duty because you're packing a lot in a small package and need to keep it light to not throw off the front/rear bias too much, is more difficult to repair, and under steers. All the advantages of unibody make it a disadvantage when officers are involved in minor collisions like running someone off the road or jumping a medium at speed.

    As much as I now like Japanese cars, they tend to be lighter duty. Yeah, they may have less gremlins and shakes and rattles, but the nuts and bolts of them are lighter duty.
     
  7. Sufferin' Prius Envy

    Sufferin' Prius Envy Platinum Member

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    THIS JUST IN:

    The Cadillac Cimarron was not a "luxury" car.

    [​IMG]
    50 Worst Cars of All Time

    Of course the Prius would not be the best choice for a Highway Patrol pursuit vehicle. It wasn't designed to be that type of vehicle. :rolleyes:
     
  8. jeffreykb

    jeffreykb Junior Member

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    I agree...a Prius is not a designed for as Highway Patrol vehicle. However, some the functions of police do not require an Interceptor. Each department should decide if hybrids could be useful. Maybe bicycles or Segways would be more useful.

    One possible idea for an Interceptor could be a mild hybrid with electric A/C. I think everyone knows about the "speed traps" which require the patrolperson to sit in one place in the heat. :)
     
  9. tnthub

    tnthub Member

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    The dynamics of performance driving are such that a Prius, and many other vehicles, would greatly increase the risk of crashes if they were to be utilized in high speed situations. However in urban areas where there is a need for a constant presence and the conditions are such that high speed utilization is unlikely, the Prius and other hybrid vehicles could serve a limited but important role in increasing the efficiency of municipal and city services.

    My (non-stock) Camaro goes zero to sixty in 3.4 seconds. There are not many vehicles than can compete with that type of performance, however the question isn't the actual performance in one area of measurement, but in terms of overall effectiveness... In Maine we have winter to the ability to handle icy roads is important and front wheel drive has an advantage in that capacity. We make trade offs based on the circumstances, location, demographics, and historical needs of our towns.

    The local Crowne Vic cruisers have anemic performance but they ride comfortably, handle well on slippery roads, and have room for passengers and canines. These are important considerations in my area.
     
  10. brick

    brick Active Member

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    You have to admit that there are some aspects of the duty cycle for which the current Prius would not be well-suited. Let's say you're sitting on the shoulder running radar with the A/C going for more than 10 minutes. Odds are you have the battery down to two purple bars. Next thing you know some punk blasts by looking for a ticket, and you need to get into traffic quickly. Too bad the car will be worried about charging the battery, severely hampering performance. That's a huge error trap for an officer who might be expecting the otherwise adequate performance that the car provides.

    I'm as pro-Prius and FE as the next guy, but the car isn't perfect for all things. Highway patrol is one of the few exceptions. Now, offer it as a plug-in that's programmed specifically for that kind of situation and maybe you have something.
     
  11. skruse

    skruse Senior Member

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    Toyota hybrids have many characteristics that are advantageous to police patrol vehicles:

    1. No idle (reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions) at prolonged stops - longer patrol period before need to refuel.
    2. Independent air conditioning (a plus for K-9 vehicles).
    3. Stealth mode (night patrols looking for suspects) under 35 mph.
    4. Reduced maintenance (5k oil change intervals).
    5. Modified console has space for computer and police radio.
     
  12. dwdean

    dwdean Member

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    You know, I think that this yet another one of those things where one person's very black and white answer is being used as a "one-size-fits-all" kind of statement.

    Frankly, in a lot of ways I agree with that Wyoming trooper. I would not want the police in my town exclusively using the Prius, as it sits today, as a front-line patrol car. Today's Prius was designed and manufactured as a civilian, light transport, not as a police vehicle.

    Too often we handcuff our own police departments by forcing things like this on them, only to find that it's solved one problem and created a pile of others for the police officers themselves. (Anyone remember a botched bank robbery in LA in the late '90s where the police were entirely out-classed due to restrictions on the type of equipment they were allowed to have?)

    As many people have pointed out all police cars are loosely based on some production model (Crown Vics, 300s, etc.) The key here is the "loosely based". Yes, they look like those production cars and many of the parts are interchangeable, but they're hardly "the same". Decommissioning a police cruiser requires removing a lot of stuff (and I don’t just mean the radio, lights, and shotgun holder.)

    Does that mean that I would be adverse to the development of a police version of a car like the Prius that would be very loud "HECK NO"! It just means that I don't think we should be pressuring our first responders to force a square peg (a civilian car like the Prius) into a round hole (the special vehicular needs that a police department has.)

    Having said that, there are police departments who are finding ways to add Prius to their fleets. See these posts for people who have pointed this out.

    http://priuschat.com/forums/freds-house-pancakes/51419-why-dont-police-create-tailgating-decoys.html

    http://priuschat.com/forums/prius-main-forum/50401-prius-policecars.html

    I know some European police departments use Prius for patrol cars, and I thought I remembered a storey of a small town in Maine having replaced one of it's cruisers were a Prius. For the most part, the European departments have somewhat different needs than the North American ones do, and the North American departments appear to finding places in their fleets where what is available works without making wholesale replacements of their utility fleets.

    With respect to the speed thing, that's a red herring. Most jurisdictions have policies that discourage high-speed pursuit. As many people have pointed out, the car that can out-drive a radio has not been invented yet. Using the radio has been found to be a safer way of catching up with the bad guys than chasing them down at high speed.

    I don't know how those policies translate to wide-open spaces like Wyoming, but they certainly apply in urban areas. The real point here is that the police have a need for a robust, mechanically reliable vehicle that will take a licking and keep on ticking.

    The fact that some departments have purchased them indicates that the Prius meets at least some of those criteria, but maybe not all of them. I hope that Toyota and other manufacturers are looking into making police versions.

    Until then, shouldn’t we let the professional men and women who may be risking their lives doing their jobs choose the equipment that they feel safest using?
     
  13. Missionary

    Missionary Missionary

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    I lived in Panama City, Panama for a few years working as a missionary. Very few police even have cars there, they stand on the edge of the road and hold the radar gun then call the next policeman down the road. He will point to you for you to pull over, if you don't the next one shoots out your tires. They have lots of on foot police all long the roads, labor is cheap there. Believe it on not this works very well.
     
  14. Cruising7388

    Cruising7388 New Member

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    What a bunch of nonsense! What percentage of drivers bolt because they think they can outrun the highway patrol? And what increment of danger is produced by these chases anyway? How many uninvolved motorists or pedestrians are injured or killed during these chases? The only people who profit from this is Fox News' COPS. My cynical suspicion is that most highway patrol men/women are closet hot rodders anyway. It's their turf and they want the meanest motor in the valley. At $5 per gallon, I'm not sure we taxpayers can afford their indulgence. We would be far better off providing economy vehicles with high quality seats to bring down the incredible percentage of LEOs that retire on disability with bad backs caused by seats provided by the lowest bidder.
     
  15. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    Do you really get down to two bars just idling? I thought the motor would kick in when it hits 4 bars (I haven't spent enough time idling to find out). This is one area where auto turn-off/turn-on would make a big difference, I read where for our county a $1 rise in gas price = $1 million increase in the police budget. You think of a police crusier idling by the road for tens of minutes waiting for that one speeder to come along.

    But they do need something strong and capable of tight maneuvers. Believe it or not, most places don't have helicopter backup for police chases, you've been watching way too much TV to think that's the answer. And if they did, helicopters use up a ton of gas, so a Prius/helicopter combo is definitely not the way to save money. And people do run, but sometimes it's only a short distance to see if they can lose them before the police car can get up to speed ('oh, I didn't see the lights...'). You only hear about the crashes or the ones that are filmed. I personally know of two car chases that didn't make the news, and I don't frequent places prone to illegal behavior (I'm the poster boy of "white and nerdy").

    What about the Malibu hybrid or Impala hybrid (both seem to be vaporware at this point, but in theory...)?
     
  16. dwdean

    dwdean Member

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    LOL...I have an uncle who recently retired from the CHP with a bad back, that according to the story does date from the days when he road a patrole car. Though the cause wasn't cheap seats. Rather, as I understand it, and I do take this with a certain amount of salt (hear the tone of "walking to school in the snow, uphill, both ways, barefoot"), it resulted from having his car rammed by a few too many drunk drivers.
     
  17. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Yes, we now have to face the growing prospect of gangs wearing ballistic vests, with plates. Only a few weapons are designed to meet the NATO requirement to penetrate such a vest. I'm not going to get into a discussion of what that requirement entails

    But I would want whatever SMG to have the Picatinny rail system, and to meet the NATO D29 CRISAT. It appears almost every nation in Western Europe understands this need, as their SWAT-equivalent teams are equipped with such weapons

    Can you imagine what a field day some do-gooder defense lawyer in the US or Canada would have when it was brought up the bad guy was blown away by this evil looking SMG equipped with special ammunition that was not only designed to penetrate a 20 layer ballistic vest with a 1.6 mm titanium plate, but that ammunitiion was also designed to inflict the nastiest terminal wound cavity possible?

    Personally, if it was up to me, I'd equip special anti-gang military units with those weapons, and perform sweeps of entire cities. I would then go down in the history books right next to Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, "Baby Doc" Duvalier, etc.



    Personally, if it was up to me, I'd send every one through the crusher. Recent DHS/FEMA reports indicate criminals are getting hold of retired police cars and ambulances, putting lights/sirens back on, and using them to commit crimes and possibly worse.
     
  18. philmcneal

    philmcneal Taxi!

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    one thing people fail to mention... domestic car manufactures like to give fleet discounts... not so much for the Japanese... money IS a big factor in spending...
     
  19. Courtney

    Courtney New Member

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    No good, no good... The police should NEVER use Prii as patrol cars. The crime rate would skyrocket! Everyone would want to ride in them:D
     
  20. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    I don't think you're right in your assertions. I remember seeing a Car and Driver column (can't find it via Google, might not be on their web site) that essentially said there's was little real difference between a civilian and police interceptor Crown Vic. IIRC, I've seen taxis running around that had the Police Interceptor badge on the back (probably a used police car).

    I've dug around on used police cars.com p 71 police interceptor for sale - July 2008, https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/2008fleetshowroom/2008-CrVicPoliceInt.asp and https://www.fleet.chrysler.com/fleetcda/CDAController?pageid=252.

    It seems to me the only major differences are things like heavier duty alternators and coolers for fluids, possibly a move of the shift lever, wiring for lights and the a "stealth mode" for the interior lighting.
     
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