CARMEL — A big change is coming to the Carmel Police Department.
Over the next few years, the Hamilton County city will gradually replace its fleet of 130 gasoline-powered vehicles with Ford Hybrid interceptors.
That should mean big savings at the gas pump, according to the city.
The estimate is about $3,000 yearly per-car. or about $400,000 a year once the entire fleet goes hybrid.
"This is a smart move on many different levels," said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard. "The thousands of dollars we save taxpayers by using this new technology will allow out police department to invest in more proactive measures to keep our crime rate among the lowest in nation."
Police cars spend a lot of time idling, but according to Ford, the hybrid vehicle's on-board electrical equipment can be powered using the lithium-ion hybrid battery, allowing the gasoline engine to shut off much of the time.
But what about performance?
"Officers will not see a difference in the performance and functionality of the new police vehicles, yet we will be saving fuel and lowering carbon dioxide emissions," said Carmel Police Chief Jim Barlow.