I know many police officers out there would love to have a Tesla (like the rest of us). It’s a matter of budget and approval. It seems the time is now to do so, though. The Tesla Model 3 is affordable and has a positive track record with reviewers and owners. Hopefully governments will soon be able to retire their hugely fuel-inefficient SUVs with Cybertrucks as well, for investigations needing heavyweight action.
It seems nonsensical if you are in government at this time to invest in anything short of a 100% electric vehicle. When you consider the total cost of ownership, costs over the lifetime of a vehicle, and the performance and safety of an electric car, nothing else compares. Especially consider the length of time in a day that police cars spend idling — while they protect society in one way, those idling cars come at a huge societal cost in other ways. Governments, which are supposed to represent us all, should not be thinking of short-term gas car options.
Below are some electric vehicle benefits that are relevant to police usage, a list created by a police department that knows about this kind of thing, the Westport Police Department in Connecticut. The department was pleased with the newest addition to its police fleet – a fully electric 2020 Tesla Model 3.
— Westport Police Dept (@WPDCT) December 10, 2019
● The Model 3 has an extra trunk in the front of the vehicle where an internal combustion engine would usually be, affectionately called “the frunk” by the Tesla community, where officers will be able to store emergency equipment that’s important to be kept separate from cargo in the rear trunk.
● Every Tesla comes straight from the factory with many features installed in the car – like its front, side, and rear-view cameras – that a police department would typically need to install at extra cost. These cameras can also be used in “Sentry mode” to monitor the vehicle and vicinity when the vehicle is parked. Chief Koskinas is in direct conversations with Tesla to work on potential ways to leverage the car’s existing systems to better meet the needs of a police force.
● For those very rare occasions when it is both safe and necessary to do so, the all wheel drive Model 3 is capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and it has a topspeed of 162 mph, outperforming all other vehicles in the Police Department’s current fleet.
● Police cars can spend lots of time idling, as they need to keep the internal combustion engine running to power the lights and keep online computers running properly while not draining the battery. In any fully electric car, the tailpipe emissions from those long sessions spent parked will be eliminated. With Fairfield County’s air quality being among the worst in the country, eliminating emissions during idling is important.
I can only imagine the line of those waiting their turn at the station to drive this Model 3 on its full 310 miles of range and beyond.
The Model 3 has been delivered, and is in the process of being equipped for police use. That means additional emergency lights, a siren, a networked computer, a weapon rack, and tires capable of sustained speeds of over 100 mph.
When asked why he chose the Model 3, Police Chief Foti Koskinas says he “believes in being green.” However, the car’s unmatched performance for the money, its 5 star safety rating, and top-of-the-industry collision avoidance technology also played a factor.
The total cost of ownership is something this police department considered as well. Perhaps they can help other government departments catch on to sustainability and savings. Yes, the initial purchase price of $52,290 was more than the $37,000 the department would normally spend adding another Ford Explorer, but lifetime costs should be much lower. Wisely, Chief Koskinas knows the savings on the Model 3, 100% electric, will quickly make up for the higher upfront price.
“Just in the first 3 years, an internal combustion engine squad car typically requires approximately $11,000 in maintenance, including oil changes, oil filters, tune ups, and brakes. In contrast, Teslas don’t require annual maintenance and have brakes that last 70,000 miles or more, benefiting from a regenerative braking system that uses a motor to simultaneously slow the car down while recharging the battery. The savings on gasoline compared to electricity are significant as well. Using the US Department of Energy’s fuel economy calculator, the Police Department’s energy cost for the Model 3 per mile will be $0.040, while the fuel cost for a Ford Explorer is $0.127 per mile, adding up to a fuel savings of $13,770 just in the first 3 years.”
In other words, based on these calculations (not to mention other benefits), the Model 3 will pay back its extra cost at the register after slightly more than 3 years.
The police in Westport will surely be trying out Tesla Superchargers in the surrounding area of Connecticut soon enough. That should help stop anyone from ICEing charging stations in the region.