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Ford 2020 Interceptor Utility boasts lifesaving design

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: September 27, 2019


All-new 2020 Police Interceptor Utility.

Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
The 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility has an enhanced steel X-shaped brace with a bigger, stronger ladder-like steel safety frame.

Excerpted from news media

Police Officers have one more line of defense against being injured by other drivers. Ford Motor Company has redesigned the body of the 2020 Police Interceptor Utility, which includes 160 pounds of extra steel to create a substructure that helps protect occupants in a rear-end collision.

Police Interceptor Utility is the only vehicle in the world that claims to provide 75 mph rear-impact protection. Testing was conducted at Ford’s crash barrier facility in Dearborn. The crash test rating exceeds the federal impact safety standard of 50 mph.

The protective frame addresses police safety concerns, especially during roadside traffic stops when getting hit from behind is not uncommon. “Officers are medically retired” because of being struck, Michigan State Police 1st Lt. Mike Shaw said in a Detroit Free Press article. “Officers have been killed in cars that are totaled or pinned between vehicles. When we’re looking at line-of-duty deaths, the majority aren’t gunfire-related, they are traffic crash-related.”

Michigan’s “Move Over” law requires drivers to move over one lane when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights. If drivers cannot switch lanes, they must reduce their speed 10 miles below the speed limit or face a $400 fine.

Since its launch in 2013, Ford affixed a steel X-shaped metal brace to the floor of the police SUV to meet the 75-mph test. In 2020, the design also includes a bigger, stronger ladder-like steel safety frame. The steel “X” transfers energy to both sides of the vehicle. “These pieces together are primary bracing we use to handle the absorption for the 75-mile per hour rear impact,” said Bill Gubing, Ford’s lead engineer on the vehicle, in the article. “Those are high-strength steel tubes. We put a layer of reinforcement between the floor pan and the seating surfaces. It holds both sides of the car together, so it can’t break apart. The structure stays intact and strong, allowing less crush.”

Current technology also protects the fuel tank and the hybrid battery. “We’re the only ones in the industry with this rear certification and bracing,” Gubing said in the article. “This increases the chance of officer survival.”

Engineers at Ford worked with law enforcement on design changes for officer safety. Factory-installed Police Perimeter Alert uses sensors to detect nearby movement to alert the driver of suspicious activity. When such motion is detected, the system automatically turns on the rear camera, sounds a chime, rolls up the windows, and locks the doors.

In head-to-head testing, the Explorer-based police vehicle will be the fastest cop car on the street, able to reach 150 mph, according to test data from the Michigan State Police.

The 2020 Police Interceptor Utility is the first pursuit-rated SUV available with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. The gas or hybrid vehicles range from $37,000 to $41,000 but may be sold for less because police agencies require a competitive bidding process. Orders are being taken now and delivery is scheduled to start this summer.

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