The Ford Crown Victoria accounts for nearly three-fourths of police cruisers in the United States, but production of the vehicle is scheduled to end in late 2011. In anticipation of the Crown Victoria phase out, Ford has released details about its replacement vehicle, the Police Interceptor. Although police cruisers need to have powerful engines, Ford is making some changes that will make the all-new vehicle more environmentally friendly while ensuring that police officers have the power they need to perform their jobs.

Ford’s in-house Police Advisory Board, which includes law enforcement professionals, was an integral part of the Police Interceptor development. Members of the advisory board provided professional input on safety, performance, functionality and even driver comfort.

One big difference between the Ford Crown Victoria and Police Interceptor is the switch from the V-8 engine in the Crown Vic to a planned V-6 in the Interceptor. This decrease in engine size will lead to greater fuel efficiency however power will not be sacrificed. Ford has said that the new V-6 will at the very least match the power seen in the V-8 Crown Victoria.

Ford will be offering two different Police Interceptor options. The first features a 3.5-liter engine with a minimum of 263 horsepower that is also E85 compatible. This engine is 25 percent more efficient than the Crown Victoria that it replaces.

The second option will feature Ford’s EcoBoost technology combined with a twin-turbocharged engine that will provide at least 365 horsepower.

“EcoBoost brings municipalities and police fleet administrators the first ultra high-performance, yet environmentally friendly, police pursuit vehicle. Offering performance that bests normally aspirated V-8 powered police cruisers and comparable fuel economy and CO2 emissions to the standard V-6, EcoBoost represents a triple-win for police departments, the tax-paying constituents they serve and the environment they help collectively to preserve.” Source: Ford

Although Ford only recently announced the new Police Interceptor vehicles, they’ve already been through rigorous testing that was designed by the Michigan State Police as well as the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department. Carl Widmann, a vehicle engineer manager with Ford, says, “This vehicle is pursuit-ready.”

In addition to the engine upgrades, the Police Interceptor also features several new features including a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), a cross traffic alert, a rear-view camera system that also provides backup assistance, and Ford SYNC, a hands-free information system.

The Ford Chicago Assembly Plant will be manufacturing the new Police Interceptor, which is expected to hit the streets in 2011 after the Crown Victoria production ceases.