The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is deploying the Kia EV6 across the state as its first electric patrol vehicle, and it will also become its most powerful vehicle on fleet.

    Five all-wheel drive EV6 GT-Lines will be trialled over a 12-month period in five different regions: Cairns, Nambour, Ipswich, Toowoomba and Brisbane.

    “This is our first electric vehicle, so we thought it was fit and proper that it was a highway patrol car,” said Assistant Commissioner Matthew Vanderbyl.

    “This vehicle is a concept car, it will be provided to five different highway patrols across this state to test the implications of electric vehicles within operational use.

    “So, what does that do for electric range when we drive it up and down the Toowoomba range ten times a day? Or when we put it out into Cairns into the wet tropics? What does that do for batteries, what does that do for the technology?

    “When we load it up with some of the equipment we either wear or carry, and we drive it in sometimes urgent duty driving situations, that can all impact range as can climate and a range of other factors.

    “That’s what we’re going to assess and evaluate over the next 12 months across four seasons with this vehicle.

    “These vehicles have been purchased over and above our normal fleet size, they’re not replacing existing vehicles, so they’ll be used purely on an evaluation process so we can make really informed investment choices for the future.”

    The EV6 has passed through a desktop evaluation, an independent user evaluation, and now it’s time for a field evaluation.

    Kia Australia says it hasn’t made any changes to the vehicle, leaving it to the QPS to make changes like the fitment of a radio, light bar, and a hi-vis wrap that harkens back to highway patrol cars from the 1980s.

    Underneath that wrap, Commissioner Katarina Carroll was quick to note the vehicle is painted maroon – fitting for Queensland, particularly after this week’s State of Origin victory.

    Final technical fit-out on the first EV6 GT-Line police car was completed this week, and it made its policing debut escorting Queensland Maroons players to the State of Origin on Wednesday.

    The remaining EV6s will be supplied by Kia and fitted out within the next 2-3 months.

    22kW DC chargers are being installed at each location where the EV6 will be on duty, and the QPS notes it has a high level of rooftop solar. It also notes its large facilities use renewable energy.

    Given not all highway patrol cars work 24 hours a day, the QPS says there is flexibility in the trial so they can be charged overnight.

    More than 70 per cent of the QPS’ sedan and SUV fleet is hybrid or plug-in hybrid (PHEV), with around 80 PHEVs in total, but this is the QPS’ first EV.

    Assistant Commissioner Vanderbyl foresees the fleet becoming entirely EV in the future.

    “I think that’s inevitable, I think we see a really accelerating take-up of electric vehicles within the broader community and there are good reasons for that, and I think we’re no different,” said Assistant Commissioner Vanderbyl.

    “We’ve got operational implications that we have got to work through as well, but I think that we’ve really proven some of the earlier technology with hybrid and plug-in hybrid as well.

    The trial will allow the QPS to assess the EV6 in a variety of different climates – Ipswich and Toowoomba are about as cold as it gets in the Sunshine State, while Cairns is known for its hot and muggy summers.

    Depending on the region, these vehicles could see as little as 30km of driving in a shift; in others, it could be between 200 and 300km.

    The QPS has been using twin-turbo V6-powered Kia Stingers on its highway patrol fleet since local production ended of the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

    “We thank our development partners with Kia, they’ve been a long-term partner of ours with high-performance vehicles and let me tell you, this is a very high-performance vehicle,” said Assistant Commissioner Vanderbyl.

    “A large vehicle, but one which we’ve had to work with Kia and with our other partners to make it technically compatible with the requirements of policing.

    “That’s not easy. Our police wear body-worn cameras, they carry QLiTEs, they carry radios, and a range of increasingly detailed digital technology every day, and we’ve gotta make the cars that we use fit within that envelope as well.

    “There are some vehicles that would make fine police vehicles, but our people wouldn’t be able to get in and out of them with the equipment that they wear.”

    The EV6 GT-Line is available in either single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive configurations.

    With all-wheel drive, it has total system outputs of 239kW of power and 605Nm of torque, with a 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds.

    Compared to the Stinger 330S currently used by the QPS, the EV6 has 35kW less power but 95Nm more torque. The Stinger has a quicker 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds, helped by its lower tare mass: 1793kg vs 2105kg, not taking into account the weight of police equipment.

    MORE: Everything Kia EV6

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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