The men and women of the town police department are going green.
No, the uniforms will still be blue. But some of the cruisers will cause less pollution and will be more fuel efficient.
The department recently purchased two 2021 hybrid Ford Interceptor Utility police cruisers and expects a third 2022 model to hit the streets in a week or two.
They are among the first police department in The Sun Chronicle area to go green with hybrid cruisers. Attleboro has been buying hybrids since July 2021.
The new hybrid SUVs help the department save money on fuel and supports the town government’s effort to become more energy efficient, police Lt. Frank Archer said.
“We’re looking to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” Archer said.
With the price of gasoline rising, he said, the new cruisers give the department a better opportunity to cut fuel costs.
In the short few months the two hybrid cruisers have been on the road, they have used 25% less fuel than their gasoline-powered counterparts, he said.
The department will conduct a six-month and then a one-year comparison for better data on the hybrid fleet, Archer added.
It will be looking at expanding the use of hybrid vehicles and even electric cruisers as the technology grows and manufacturers produce more models.
“I expect to see integration of fully-electrified police vehicles within the next five years as battery technology advances and infrastructure needs are addressed at both a local and national level,” Archer said.
Right now, there aren’t enough charging stations in the state or the country but that will change as more auto manufacturers produce electric vehicles, Archer said, adding that “electric vehicles are definitely the future.”
The hybrids not only use less fuel than gasoline-powered cruisers, but they run on electricity while idling and have fewer emissions, Archer said.
Gasoline-powered police vehicles must constantly keep their engines running to power electrical equipment, such as cruiser laptops and police radios.
Gas consumption is highest when the vehicles are idling. But the hybrids use battery power so the engine only runs intermittently while idling to charge the battery.
The hybrid cruisers, according to Archer, cost about $38,000, not including the emergency lights and other police equipment.
The vehicles have a 3.3 liter, V6 hybrid engine with a 10-speed transmission.
The old cruisers they replaced were sold at auction, Archer said.
The purchase of the hybrids supports the town’s “green initiative,” an effort by town government to become a state-designated Green Community and qualify it for millions in state grants.
The town’s electric department last year purchased a 2020 Chevrolet Volt to replace an older gasoline-powered model.
Last year, town meeting approved adopting the state’s Stretch Energy Code on new building construction as another step towards becoming a Green Community.