Why Are Police Cars Rear Wheel Drive?
In the new reveal of the Chevy Blazer EV, GM dropped a tantalizing tidbit. The new EV Blazer comes as a front-wheel drive SUV, an all-wheel drive SUV, and for some special orders, a rear-wheel drive SUV. But, you can only get a rear-wheel drive Blazer EV if you’re in law enforcement. It begs the question: Why do regular folks prefer front- or all-wheel drive, while cops want rear wheel drive?
The EV Blazer is only rear-wheel drive for cops
Why do police prefer rear-wheel drive? Well, it comes down to several factors. According to PoliceMag.com, it’s not the officers who prefer rear-wheel drive as much as budget-conscious fleet managers. Rear-wheel drive vehicles are simply easier to maintain, they also have better clearance, and usually are more durable over the long haul. That’s why Dodge Chargers, old Crown Victorias, and even antiquated Chevy Caprices are still used.
But, there is also a strong cadre of officers who have trained for years to drive rear-wheel drive vehicles fast. All-wheel drive and front-wheel drive cars and SUVs handle differently, and training thousands of officers to suddenly learn high-speed driving techniques with a different system is simply too daunting a task. That’s a major reason the new EV police Blazer is rear-wheel drive.
Cops, too, prefer SUVs
But now, like the rest of the country, it seems like the police car is no longer the preferred vehicle. According to Police1, a site dedicated to police issues, 75% of officers now prefer police SUVs to police cars. They like SUVs for the same reasons the rest of us do: SUVs have more room and hold more stuff.
Today’s police SUVs and cars have multiple radios, computers, and all sorts of equipment. SUVs hold that stuff better than a car. Also, like the rest of us, cops, too, like the elevated seating position, higher ground clearance, and for some situations, all-wheel drive. The Blazer EV in rear-wheel drive trim could be just the thing for departments looking to switch to EV policing.
The police truck is gaining favor, as well
The police trucks from Ford, Chevy, and Ram are all four-door, four-wheel-drive, trucks that don’t look too different from the trucks you and I can buy. But they are.
Each of these trucks also come with suspension upgrades, special tires, and unique upgrades designed for police duty. They are also designed for “upfitters,” or third-party companies that add the police-specific goodies to the trucks, like push bars, lights, and prisoner partitions. Each has specific guides to help upfitters find a plethora of electrical connectors that are special to these trucks’ high-output alternators.
The Chevy and Ford trucks are also “pursuit rated.” According to the Policing Institute, a “pursuit rated” vehicle is: “A vehicle that is designed by the manufacturer to be used in a police pursuit. Pursuit rated, or police package vehicles, come with heavier frames, suspension, steering, braking system and speed rated tires, and are designed to be used in a high speed pursuit situation.”
And, of the police trucks, just an FYI: The Ford F-150 Police Responder is the fastest of the bunch.