Maybe we should all have this in our cars.
Chevrolet recently showed off its 2021 Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle, which is the largest and most spacious police car available on the market. But Ford's Police Interceptor Utility, based on the 2020 Ford Explorer, has a new trick up its sleeve to steal back the spotlight from General Motors. The Police Interceptor Utility already has some excellent crime-fighting features including a Perimeter Alert System but Ford is now showing off a new heated software enhancement feature that will help battle the novel coronavirus.
This new software is able to temporarily raise the interior temperature beyond 133 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than the most smoldering day in Death Valley. It can then keep the cabin at this temperature for 15 minutes, killing more than 99 percent of the viral concentration inside. The system works by bringing the engine to an elevated level, then putting the heater and fans on full blast.
This incredible feature to fight the spread of Covid-19 isn't just available on the lastest Police Interceptor Utility, but as a retrofit to all 2013 to 2019 models as well. Ford worked with The Ohio State University to determine the temperature and time needed to reduce the virus spread and tested the solution on New York City Police Department and Los Angeles Police Department vehicles.
"First responders are on the front lines protecting all of us. They are exposed to the virus and are in dire need of protective measures," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. "We looked at what's in our arsenal and how we could step up to help. In this case, we've turned the vehicle's powertrain and heat control systems into a virus neutralizer."
"Our studies with Ford Motor Company indicate that exposing coronaviruses to temperatures of 56 degrees Celsius, or 132.8 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15 minutes reduces the viral concentration by greater than 99 percent on interior surfaces and materials used inside Police Interceptor Utility vehicles," Jeff Jahnes and Jesse Kwiek, laboratory supervisors at The Ohio State University department of microbiology, explained.
Police officers will be alerted by flashing hazard lights and taillights when the heating process has begun, then these lights will change at the end to signal completion. The instrument cluster will also indicate how much time is left on the cycle and a cool-down process will return the temperature down to a normal point.
"Law enforcement officers are being dispatched as emergency responders in some cases where ambulances may not be available," said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager. "During one trip, officers may be transporting a coronavirus patient to a hospital, while another trip may involve an occupant who may be asymptomatic. Officers can now use this self-cleaning mode as an extra layer of protection inside the vehicle in areas where manual cleaning is prone to be overlooked. This virus is an invisible enemy and we are proud to provide a solution to help the law enforcement community fight it."
When combined with other cleaning methods, this new feature should help slow the spread of Covid-19. Larger police departments can install the feature themselves using diagnostic service tools while others can contact Ford dealerships for assistance.