Forty-five customized Ford Escape Hybrid beach patrol vehicles have been added to the fleet of Los Angeles County Lifeguards.

The new Ford Escape Hybrids were launched at a “green” ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Ford Motor Company representatives May 23rd at Venice Beach.

The beach patrol vehicles, valued at $1.5 million, were provided through a sponsorship with Ford Motor Company, county Department of Beaches and Harbors officials said. The hybrids have become the official vehicle of Los Angeles County Lifeguards, a division of the county Fire Department.

The new vehicles will be an all “green” fleet and are considered the most fuel-efficient compact SUV available that can travel up to 500 miles on one tank of gas, department officials said.

The Ford Escape Hybrid dramatically reduces smog-forming emissions, as it meets California’s Partial Zero Emission Vehicle certified standards, officials said.

The Escape Hybrid is a “full” hybrid, switching between electric and gasoline power to maximize efficiency and performance similar to that of a V-6 engine. Fuel cost savings for Los Angeles County are estimated at over $200,000 annually, according to the department.

Visitors to Los Angeles County beaches will see the new green beach vehicles in action as they patrol 32 miles of beach.