The first cars, in full police livery, were handed over to Assistant Chief Constable Steve Mortimore at Somerset's "From Field To Wheel" bioethanol conference, which signalled a successful first phase of introducing biofuel to the county.
The sustainable fuel powering the country's first bioethanol police cars can be made from UK-grown crops such as wheat or sugar beet, which absorb CO2 prior to harvest for bioethanol production. Plans are in place to produce bioethanol from Somerset wheat. By factoring in this CO2 absorption, the fuel reduces overall carbon emissions by around 70 per cent compared with petrol - making the Focus Focus FFV one of the most CO2 friendly vehicles available. A further 25 Ford Focus FFVs are used by other members of the Somerset Biofuel Project. Ford, potential FFV customers, the bioethanol supplier and the fuel retailer worked together in the county to create the UK's first biofuel infrastructure.
Andy Taylor, Ford's European sustainability director, said:
"Somerset has been ahead of the game in spotting the huge environmental and economic potential biofuels can offer. Vehicle fleets in the county are running on a renewable fuel which can be produced in Britain. Bioethanol is priced less than fossil fuels and the biofuel industry is creating new British jobs."
Nick Rogers, head of transport services for Avon and Somerset police, said:
"We are delighted to be a Somerset Biofuel Project partner and introduce FFVs onto our fleet. This is a significant step towards reducing global climate change and one which we hope that others will follow. The availability of bioethanol in our area makes this a real alternative to using vehicles which can operate only on conventional fossil fuels." Avon and Somerset's Ford Focus FFVs were converted to police emergency response vehicles at Ford's Special Vehicle Preparations base in Essex. They were equipped with specialist equipment including emergency lights and sirens.