Riddle time: What has blue and white lights but is actually green?

The answer is Ford’s latest hybrid model, a police cruiser based on the Fusion Hybrid sedan and the industry’s first hybrid-electric police car.

Ford says the car, whose official name is Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, is part of a US$4.5 million investment promised in January that will see it roll out 13 electrified vehicles in a five-year period that began shortly after the calendar flipped over to 2017.

Initially, we thought a hybrid cop car sounded like the answer to a question no one had asked, but Ford thinks the car will find a market beyond its initial introduction in New York City and Los Angeles.

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Ford estimates the gas-electric cruiser will return average fuel consumption of 6.2 L/100 km, a little less than half of what its current Taurus-based cruiser manages with its 3.7-litre V6. The manufacturer says the car has also been certified according to police department standards for “police pursuits for longer periods at different speeds and over obstacles such as curbs and flooded intersections.”

The fuel economy improvement comes courtesy the same powertrain used in the Fusion Hybrid available to the general public, which comprises a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor.

But Ford says the Hybrid’s real benefit will be seen in the car’s everyday use: cop cars do a lot of idling as officers leave the engine running (presumably in case they have to get going in a hurry) while they file reports and do the other mundane tasks cops do when they’re not actively policing things. The lithium-ion battery can also take on much of a cop car’s extra electrical load, from accessories like the light bar and computer gear.

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The manufacturer says hybrid cruiser users could save more than $5,000 per car over the course of a year, assuming about 30,000 km driven per year, two shifts per day, 365 days per year, 4.9 hours of idling per eight-hour shift, and is fueled at an average gas price of a bit less than $1 per litre.

Ford says it opens the order book for the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan this spring, and the first cars will be delivered to police departments across the U.S. next summer.