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NYPD unveils 40 hybrid patrol cars

The NYPD just got a little greener, rolling out onto patrol - for the first time - 40 hybrid cars that cost more than the standard patrol car but are roomier and more efficient.

"We want to get the most mileage out of technology where it makes the most sense," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out an extra advantage - the Nissan Altima hybrids are American-made in Smyrna, Tenn. - unlike the Canadian-produced Crown Victorias and Chevy Impalas that comprise most of the NYPD's fleet of 2,400 patrol vehicles.

"It is an added benefit that buying these cars helps create jobs in America," Bloomberg said.

The mayor last July said he wanted to cut the city's energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017.

There are now 3,300 hybrids among the fleet of 26,000 city-owned vehicles. Most hybrids are assigned to sanitation, buildings, parks and transportation.

The NYPD will have 100 such cars in use by year's end and hopes to add even more hybrids.

Some traffic enforcement agents have been using Prius hybrids since 2002, and police duty captains, who respond to major incidents, have already been using GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle hybrids.

"We've had no downside," Kelly said of the hybrids in use.

The cars unveiled Thursday - Nissan Altimas powered by fuel and battery - are being dispatched to congested precincts, such as those covering midtown, as well as precincts that cover wide areas of lands, such as the 122nd on Staten Island. Of the 40 hybrids, 22 will operate as unmarked cars.

The Altimas each cost $25,391 before lights and sirens are added. That's more than the $23,967 for an Impala or $24,875 for the Crown Victorias.

But the Altimas have greater acceleration - zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds - and get 35 miles per gallon, more than twice the 15 miles per gallon for the Crown Victoria and Impala, Kelly said.

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