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Ford details hybrid Police Interceptor Utility

The electrified interceptor could save an estimated $3,200 in fuel expenses each year.

Ford has introduced a new hybrid powertrain for the Police Interceptor Utility, likely previewing a hybrid Explorer for civilian buyers.

The company has not released full technical details, though the hybrid promises to accelerate faster and achieve a higher top speed than the previous V6-powered model.

Ford estimates the hybrid edition will have an EPA-estimated combined efficiency of at least 24 mpg, representing a 40-percent improvement over the current naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6. Projecting the efficiency improvement over the course of a year in a typical police department, the company says the hybrid could save $3,200 per year in fuel bills.

"If you applied these savings to every Ford Police Interceptor Utility sold in 2017, it would equate to more than $126 million at $2.93 a gallon, or more than 43 million gallons of fuel," the automaker says.

The hybrid drastically reduces idling time to save fuel when the vehicle is sitting stationary. A lithium-ion battery can power the vehicle electronics along with officers' gear such as computers and lights, while the engine only turns on intermittently to charge the battery.

The new Police Interceptor Utility hybrid will go on sale next summer.