Basalt cops going green with hybrids |

Basalt cops going green with hybrids

BASALT ” The Basalt Police Department is going green with its next generation of patrol cars.

The department is purchasing one Ford Escape Hybrid this year, and will lease four additional Escape Hybrids next year if Town Council approves a proposed town budget, Police Chief Keith Ikeda said.

Assuming the deals go through, half of the department’s fleet of 10 vehicles will be hybrids. The vehicles pegged for replacement next year include two GMC Jimmies and two Chevy Impalas, so the change would create a substantial boost in gas mileage. The Escape gets an estimated 30 miles per gallon in city driving conditions; the Impalas get about 20 mpg in the city, Ikeda said.

The department wanted to go green, but not at any price. It needed a vehicle that was within the allowable range of money it could spend. That worked to the advantage of the Ford.

“A lot of it was cost,” Ikeda said. “It’s about 12 grand less than a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.”

The vehicles are being acquired through what’s known as a “state bid,” available for governmental agencies in Colorado. That knocked the price down to $24,000 for the vehicle being purchased this year. Better deals are available through the state bid for buying American, so that made the Ford more favorable than the Toyota. The vehicles are similar in size, Ikeda said, and the Fords can be retrofitted to handle all the electronic gear that officers require. It also is an all-wheel-drive SUV that can handle Basalt’s steep roads during winter driving conditions.

The department wanted to go green to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, Ikeda said. Basalt’s “Green Team,” a committee that promotes environmental issues, encouraged the move at about the same time the department started shopping for a hybrid vehicle.

The town staff has a Toyota Prius available as its company car.

Ikeda said no single officer will drive the Ford Escape being purchased this year. It will rotate among patrol officers.

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