Ghent police tests 112 interventions with Volkswagen ID.4

The police zone of Ghent has started testing the feasibility of electric drivelines for intervention vehicles. As of today, one anonymous and one stripped Volkswagen ID.4 are patrolling the streets of the city, not only to monitor safety but also to gather feedback on operational viability.

‘Politiezone Gent Conceptcar EPV’ reads a sticker on the front bumper of the new police cars. The message explains that the acquired SUVs serve as ‘proof of concept’ for further evaluation to address the pain points and see if they can handle 112 emergency situations.

Pro, no GTX

As police vehicles are used 24/7 during consecutive shifts, electric drivelines aren’t the best-suited for these use cases due to their extensive charging times. In many municipalities across Europe, priority vehicles are exempted from emissions bans (also the EU 2035 regulation). They are often candidates for hydrogen drivelines because of their faster fuel refills, which don’t exceed mere minutes.

The Ghent police are now investigating a different route. The department already incorporated electric vehicles into its fleet, but these were solely designated for secondary tasks such as district activities and routine operational movements.

The Volkswagen compact SUV, its bestselling electric model, is chosen based on its wide range (435 km), fast-charging capacity (28 minutes on a DC charger, but no 22 kW option three-phase), and practical aspects, such as sufficient interior space and a large trunk. It’s not mentioned, but these battery-powered SUVs also feature a stealth mode, as they lack the noise of a combustion engine.

Contrary to what one might expect, the police haven’t picked the fastest ID.4. These Pro Performance models ‘in uniform’ hit 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds, but Volkswagen also offers the sportier ID.4 GTX, which can cut it to 5.4 seconds. Though no details are released, these police cars add more weight to the already hefty battery driveline than their additional equipment.

Signalling lights inside

Of course, specific details were altered to meet the unique requirements. “Placing the signalization inside the vehicle instead of a light bar on the roof positively influences the air resistance coefficient,” explains Brent Hoste, Head of Department Vehicles Police Zone Ghent. The LED lighting under the windshield is of the latest-generation quality and keeps the original aerodynamics untouched. In the back, a particular retractable case holds all the necessary accessories and tools in place.

“Electrification is currently essential for achieving sustainable mobility, and the police must, of course, also be part of this transition. Re-examining what a police car should be able to do in different situations is therefore necessary,” concludes Bart Schoenmaekers, Head of Service for Finance and Resources of the Ghent Police.


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