As public notices about law enforcement go, a recent announcement by Zero Motorcycles barely registered on the world’s attention meter. Still, the electric bike maker felt obliged to tell the world it had 50 police departments as clients for its zero-emissions motorcycles, a milestone that bodes well for the green vehicles movement and air quality of a city near you.
Looking at the marriage of electric vehicles and police work, you can see why more cities around the country are giving their officers bikes and cars that run on quiet EV technology rather than the rumbling cruisers and Harleys of the past. Gone are the days when cops announcing their presence is considered a tactical advantage. Fuel and vehicle budgets aren’t what they used to be, either, and bikes with over 175 miles of range are no slouch in regular patrols.
In fact, the case for going gasoline-free in law enforcement is becoming too strong to ignore. Here are five big reasons why electric motorcycles are ideal for police work.
1. More versatility than gas bikes
Now that Zero Motorcycles has gotten the range of its fleet to respectable levels (178 miles in its top model), you can begin to compare gas and electric bikes on the rest of their merits. Both are capable of off-road or city activity, but EVs have a big advantage of zero-tailpipe emissions. In any indoor situations, cops can do their work without spreading fumes through the room. Cleaner air is better for the officers and anyone else they encounter during a day’s work. Indoor pursuit on a Harley guarantees the opposite experience.
2. Virtually silent pursuit
When longtime drivers first get inside an EV, the first thing they usually notice is the near-silent operation. Electric motors are so quiet you barely hear them coming. This feature gives cops a huge tactical advantage when approaching perpetrators in any situation. Whether you want to deploy a few bike cops to clear an area or hope to sneak up on suspects in a park setting, these bikes are ideal for either purpose.
3. Cost of ownership
Any municipality hoping to cut operating costs should see what electric vehicles offer with their lower cost of ownership. Between the one-cent-per-mile price of “fueling” and the low maintenance of electric powertrains (thanks to their few moving parts), cities and police departments have a money-saving ally in these bikes. The same applies to the pure EV and hybrid squad cars that are helping law enforcement agencies make ends meet.
4. Emissions reductions
Between the versatility, cost savings, and other advantages, you might forget how electric bikes reduce emissions dramatically when compared to combustion engine vehicles. Governments from California to New York City have pledged to keep driving down emissions for safer living, and these bikes deliver on that front. Regular police patrols eat up way too much gasoline as is.
5. Improved community relations
If you’ve ever had police racing through your neighborhood, you know what an unpleasant ruckus cops can make doing their duty. The intense noise and exhaust fumes are enough to make the most police-friendly communities get annoyed at the boys in blue (or black, as the case may be). Getting officers on electric bikes means eliminating the noise and tailpipe emissions, which makes for better community relations. Judging by the news from the past few years, there are many U.S. cities that could use a bump in that department.