The Chicago Police Department has awarded a $9.6 million contract to Ford for 200 new police vehicles built at the Torrence Avenue plant, officials said Friday.
The 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrids are projected to lower annual fuel costs by at least $3,500 per vehicle compared with the previous gas-powered model, Ford said.
The SUVs are expected to be delivered beginning in April, said Jonathan Lewin, chief of technical services for Chicago police. He said the design of what Ford calls the first pursuit-rated hybrid SUV will improve officer safety while cutting operating costs.
The Chicago order builds on the Ford plant’s momentum this year. The company made a $1 billion investment in its oldest plant, which dates from the Model T, so it could turn out premium-priced Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators in addition to the police vehicles.
The work has led Ford to add 1,000 jobs on the South Side, bringing the total jobs at the plant to 5,200 hourly workers.
Ford said that in 2018 it had a 63 percent market share of all law enforcement vehicle sales in the U.S. It said it has orders for 3,700 police utility hybrids from departments that range from New England to Southern California.
Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand manager, said the hybrid vehicles shut off the gas engine for extended periods of time, allowing the lithium-ion battery to power lights, radios, computers and other on-board equipment, reducing emissions and fuel usage.