DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co., which sells more police vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, says it will offer a police pursuit version of the hybrid Fusion midsize sedan, in response to requests from cities nationwide.

The new car, with its 2-liter, four-cylinder engine and 1.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery, is expected to get 38 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving – that’s 20 mpg more than Ford’s current police car, the Taurus police interceptor.

The Fusion Police Responder won’t be as fast as the Taurus, which has a 3.7-liter, turbocharged V6, but Ford expects it to be quick enough to earn a pursuit rating when tested later this year by the Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. To get a pursuit rating, cars have to perform well in acceleration, handling, braking, top speed and ergonomics and make the list of cars that the Michigan and Los Angeles agencies would buy.

Ford says the interior of the hybrid is big enough to accommodate the electronics and accessories needed for modern policing. Other options include a driver’s side spotlamp, ballistic door panels and noise suppression materials. Associated Press/Julie Jacobson)

When the Responder’s throttle is held down for five seconds, the hybrid goes into pursuit mode, using both the electric motor and gas engine for maximum performance, Ford said. The company also says the car will be durable for tough police duties.

Police cars spend much of their days idling by the side of a road, and that’s where the hybrid has a true advantage, Ford said. The gas engine will shut off at idle with the battery handling the electrical load for flashers, radios and other items. It will restart to recharge the battery.

Ford said at $2.50 per gallon for gas, the hybrid would save a police department $3,877 per year in fuel costs per vehicle. The price of the hybrid, available in the fall of 2018, isn’t being released just yet.

Ford says the car will come equipped with a mounting plate instead of a floor console, allowing for installation of aftermarket equipment and providing a channel for wiring. Ford Motor Co. photo

Ford was to unveil the police car Monday with press conferences in New York and Los Angeles. One already has been outfitted to look like a Los Angeles police cruiser.

While big-city departments might be most interested in the fuel savings, the cars might also be appealing to small departments.

Thomas Korabik, chief of the 10-officer North Muskegon, Michigan, Police Department, said his city spends about $22,000 per year on gasoline for four cruisers and would be interested in cutting that in half.

But he wonders if the Fusion is big enough inside to carry computers, radios and other equipment. Many departments have switched to SUVs to handle the equipment, said Korabik, who also is president of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.

“Anytime you can save money it is good,” he said. “I’d want to see the car first and see how it would hold up.”

Todd Soderquist, Ford’s chief engineer for the Fusion Police Responder, conceded the car is smaller than other cruisers on the outside. “Internally, you’ll be surprised at how comparable they are,” he said.

The trunk houses the power pack, consisting of an auxiliary power distribution box and 1.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery, as well as a storage vault. Ford Motor Co. photo