Ford Police SUVs Will Heat Up to 133 Degrees and Kill 99% of the Germs

Ford's new heating software burns away coronavirus along with other germs and it only takes 15 minutes.
Fabienne Lang
The photo credit line may appear like thisJason Lawrence/Flickr

Disinfecting police cars has been of paramount importance during the pandemic, and after the New York Police Department asked Ford for an improved method to sanitize its vehicles, the carmaker has come up with a solution: heating it up. 

The company announced on Wednesday that its SUVs, which are largely used in the U.S. police force, now have a new software that will literally burn out germs. The Ford Police Utility, a version of the Ford Explorer SUV, is now kitted out with the new software that raises the heat up to 56 degrees Celcius (133 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes


Burn it up

Ford's SUVs can now automatically heat up as though they were sitting baking in the middle of the desert on a hot Summer's day. So much so that it's enough to kill 99% of germs that may be infectious within the vehicle, including the coronavirus, as per Ford's statement.

In the newer versions of Ford's utility vehicles, police officers can start the process by simply pressing a series of buttons on the car's cruise control buttons. For the older versions, models dating back to between 2013 - 2015, the process can be started by a technician who uses a device plugged into the SUV's electronic diagnostics port. 

One little thing to note: "You certainly don't want it to be something that gets activated accidentally so it is a complicated enough cycle that you'd have to be paying attention to what you're doing to, to get it to start," said Bill Gubing, Ford's director of passenger vehicles and SUVs.

So once it's activated, the technician or the police officer leaves the vehicle, which automatically locks up, the engine then revs up to a high idle speed of around 2,000 RPM in order to heat the engine coolant, which in turn heats the air that's pumped through the cabin. The cooling process then kicks in. All is done and dusted in the space of 15 minutes

The entire process is more efficient than using disinfectant spray or wipes throughout the vehicle's interior, as spots and places could be missed. 

However, as this new software was made rapidly to ensure the safety of officers and those riding in their vehicles, Ford cautions that there are currently no safeguards that stop the system from operating when someone or an animal are in the car. 

Gubing said "We'll continue to work with our agencies and get their feedback on how well it works and look at how we adjust if need be in the future. But right now, for speed, it's really officer or initiator dependent." 

The interior isn't harmed during the process, the only thing that's harmed are those little germs. 

For now, the system functions for Police Utility SUVs, as these make up the vast majority of Ford's police vehicles. It may well be adapted to work for other Ford trucks, vans, and sedans in the future.


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