Indianapolis police rolling out 50 hybrid cars

INDIANAPOLIS - The culmination of a push by Mayor Greg Ballard will be seen soon in Indianapolis as the police department rolls out 50 new hybrid and electric cars.

Bumper to bumper, the Ford Fusion Energi looks pretty much like any other car. But the petrol and battery-powered hybrid leaves others in the proverbial dust when it comes to fuel mileage and savings.

"[It gets] 88.2 miles per gallon," said Dave Schwartz, deputy chief of the Public Safety Center.

Schwartz has driven the hybrid since September, and says his last fill-up was in mid-March. Even with the 1,600 miles he's put on the car since that fill-up, it still has a quarter tank of gas left, he said.

That's because the car will run at least 20 miles on battery power before gasoline is used.

"It's using both gas and electricity to get the power it needs," Schwartz said. "In a little bit, we won't need the gas anymore. It'll shut that part off and go back to battery only."

The Department of Public Safety plans to purchase at least 50 of the hybrids for the police department. They will go to department administrators and to detectives in the districts.

The city plans to increase the number of charging stations at both headquarters and at outlying roll call sites.

The Department of Public Safety calculates the annual fuel savings alone at more than $70,000. And the battery-powered vehicle will lead to fewer emissions and cleaner air.

And, Schwartz says he likes the ride.

"It's a good ride," he said. "I mean, it's definitely quiet when it's running electric. But I don't think you're going to notice the difference from driving a normal gas-powered vehicle."

The city plans to purchase more electric hybrids to replace its aging fleet of cars whenever and wherever it makes sense, officials said.

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