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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone used a Prius as a Fire Chief's vehicle or any other emergency response car? Specifically, I'm looking for what lights were used and how the relatively small 12V power system handled the load (lights, radios, etc.). Thanks!
 

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Most of the time, those emergency lights are run with the car running. Even with a standard battery, those lights can tax the batteries big time.
 

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DanMan32 said:
Most of the time, those emergency lights are run with the car running. Even with a standard battery, those lights can tax the batteries big time.
If you use LEDs in a light bar, the load will be quite small.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the pointers!

Thanks for the pointers to the Clearwater and the NIU Police departments. Both were very generous with sharing information about how they've modifed their vehicles. The bottom line is that it seems pretty doable (since they've done it and are very happy). Led lights are clearly the way to go, as FirePA63 pointed out. As it turns out, the big draw is the radio. The radio I need can draw 15 Amps when transmitting and even has a substantial load just receiving. So, the radio cannot be on with the car not in "ready" mode. But that's really not a surprise since I've run the 12V battery down with just the FM radio on (with the car not in ready mode).

I'll post an update when I get things installed and working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
why an suv?

Hmmm. I'm not sure how a bigger, more fuel-hungry vehicle would help me. I'm an assistant chief with an ambulance squad. I need to get to emergency scenes safely, I need to communicate with other responders and with the dispatcher, and I need to bring a modest amount of equipment with me. My Prius seems ideal.

The Clearwater Police department uses their Prius fleet for detectives and administrators. Again, a perfect fit. Unless you're chasing the bad guys while they're shooting at you, a Prius seems like a good choice. And if they're shooting at you, an SUV may not be enough protection...
 

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hyperion said:
I would really hope that any emergency responce vehicle in my town would be an SUV with a V8 under the hood and not a compact hybrid! That's just a personal opinion however.
A chief’s car or battalion commander's vehicle, unless it needs to haul an inordinate amount of support equipment, is not a first responder vehicle. As such it doesn't need to be as powerful, or heavy duty as a first responder vehicle.

Lots of people are unaware that the average Crown Victoria in police use is highly modified with regard to batteries and charging system, to support all the electrical goodies they have on board. Usually that means 2 batteries under the hood, upgraded alternators, upgraded wiring, power points installed at the factory to pull power from for the light bar, radios, computer systems, cameras etc. Even the interior trim is different on these cars than even the most stripped CV you can buy at your local Ford dealer (which isn't all that stripped compared to a lot of other cars).

The Prius is unique, if left in Ready, it has plenty of power to offer to light bars, radios, auxiliary equipment, etc. If the car were to sit at an emergency site for a period of time the FE would tank because the ICE would be starting up to top off the HV battery. In any other mode it wouldn't be so good. However, other than that, it should be a fine vehicle for chiefs use.
 

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A lot of fire roads around Southern California are dirt roads and they get muddy in the rainy season. Most Fire Chiefs and similar responders around here use 4 wheel drives like Chevy Suburbans or Tahoes. I'd be happy with a 4wd RAV4 hybrid though.
 

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hyperion said:
But would the taxpayers in your district like paying the additional tab just to have a hybrid. You sure won't be saving any tax dollars.
Hyperion, from reading ml's posts, it appears he would be using his own vehicle. If that's the case, there is no tax burden.
 

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15A should be fine. Heck, the 2 outlets are fused at 15A each and are rated safe at 10A (120W). You could add more aux battery in the hatch. Just be sure it is safe for indoor use (sealed) such as a gel cell, preferably the vented type, so that you'd have a longer operating time when the car is not in READY. Have a voltmeter installed so you know when you're getting down to a low charge. In a pinch, the AVC diagnostics screen has a voltage display.

Note though, the car only runs the ICE as needed, so you can keep it in READY for long periods of time without waste of fuel.
 

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DanMan32 said:
Note though, the car only runs the ICE as needed, so you can keep it in READY for long periods of time without waste of fuel.
With an 800 watt load, the ICE will run for about 2-3 minutes out of every 15 minutes according to Richard Factor's test data. It would take a lot of lights and radios to make an 800 watts continuous load (58a @ 13.8v). Of course, that amount of load would have to be taken directly from the 12v battery, not the accessory outlets.
 

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The State of Washington has one, the use it for the DOC (Corrections). They had a factory EV switch installed at the local dealer.
 

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I posted a thread today about a Chicago suburb no longer recycling Crown Victorias and purchasing hybrids as police cars. It's saving loads on gas, and that was with $2.09 a gallon.
 

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And it can be easily purchased in a right hand drive configuration for mail route use.
 
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