The City of San Diego is working toward transitioning its police fleet to hybrid Police Interceptor Utility (PIU) vehicles from Ford to comply with its Climate Action Plan. Its order of 100 PIU hybrids is the largest PIU hybrid order in California, and the San Diego PD has ordered an additional 59 units, according to its Fleet Operations Department. The department plans to transition to zero- or low-emission vehicles whenever possible.
The department ordered 100 vehicles through cooperative purchasing group Sourcewell. Fleet staff put on decals and the automated fuel systems. About 40 are already delivered and at least a dozen will be put in service in the next one or two weeks.
The cost for the vehicles, with lights and sirens but without radio or city upfitting, is $56,787 each.
“The driving factor for this change was to support the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan. We know based on studies performed that electric and hybrid vehicle maintenance cost are lower than that of the traditional gasoline engine vehicles, and we fully anticipate seeing those decreased costs over the life of the vehicle. We have developed our vehicle replacement plan moving forward to include the use of hybrid, EV [electric vehicle], and ZEV [zero emission vehicle] options wherever it meets our operational needs,” said Fleet Manager Michael Simonds.
When asked about future budgeting for police vehicle purchases, he said the city will continue to pursue zero- and low-emission vehicles as the preferred replacements for future orders.
The SDPD’s Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) instructors are creating a training video on PIU Hybrid operation that will be required viewing for police officers before they can drive the vehicles.
The San Diego PD's current fleet of 1,493 vehicles is varied, with almost half of vehicles consisting of PIUs and Ford Crown Victoria cars.
Thi Dao is executive editor of POLICE sister publication Government Fleet.