Silent Running: NYPD Just Got a Tesla Model 3 Patrol Car

The days of the old Crown Victoria police patrol cars are gone, quickly being replaced by faster, more efficient models. In fact, police departments around the country are toying with the idea of investing in electric vehicles, and Tesla is currently the front-runner for providing an EV alternative to law enforcement officials.

New York City is the latest police department to jump on the bandwagon, spending close to $50,000 on a new Tesla patrol car. The NYPD is investing in eco-friendly options for its current fleet of vehicles. Using the Tesla Model 3 as a patrol car is proving to be an innovative approach to the future of law enforcement in both the United States and abroad.

A Georgia police department purchased a Model S

An LAPD Tesla Model S P85D model at the 44th annual Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament
A Tesla Model S P85D police car | Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Co-Star Entertainment

In a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, a local police department used money confiscated during a drug bust to purchase a 2015 Tesla Model S. As part of the “Sustainable Brookhaven” initiative, officials wanted to “test the suitability of an electric vehicle for police operations.”

According to a 2019 Proof of Concept Report from the Brookhaven Georgia government, the city currently spends $228,000 a year on fuel for department vehicles and $50,000 for oil changes and routine maintenance. They anticipated an annual savings of approximately $200,000 by transitioning their entire fleet of 112 cars to EVs. Additionally, the city’s findings indicated a possible 70% operational cost savings by eliminating gas-powered automobiles. However, they noted no current “all-electric platform presently suitable for police patrol operations.”

After testing the Tesla Model S, city officials explained, “Its unique aerodynamic design made mounting lights and other police auxiliary equipment a challenge, and the low seat and roofline would make it impractical for a driver of large stature.” They found that even “though the car is spacious enough for equipment, having a front and back trunk, the backseat is not suitable for transporting prisoners.”

Despite the setbacks and time needed to retrofit the Tesla for patrol use, they found it to be a “superior vehicle in speed and maneuvering.” They were also impressed by a battery life that could sustain an entire 12-hour patrol shift.

The NYPD gets a new Tesla Model 3 patrol car

The New York Police Department recently spent $47,740 on a Tesla Model 3 for its highway patrol division. The New York Post reports, “The cost of the Tesla comes in a bit higher than the other green vehicles the department has acquired over the last few years as part of its plan to cut down on carbon emissions.”

The Tesla Model 3 proved to be an attractive option since it has an estimated range of 350 miles and can go from 0 to 60 mph in a little over 4 seconds. The rapid acceleration is a definite perk for officers who are frequently involved in high pursuit chases. Audacy reported the Tesla long-range version is “optimized for police highway patrol operations.”

What did the NYPD’s fleet look like before considering EVs? According to Streetsblog NYC, last year, the NYPD purchased 400 Ford Hybrid Police Responder sedans, costing approximately $40,000 for each patrol car.

The Tesla Model 3 is being used for UK police patrol cars 


Tesla Police Cars Are a Thing, but Is This the Best Idea?

It’s not only police departments in the U.S. that are adding Tesla electric vehicles to their fleets. In the U.K., the government is working toward the “Road to Zero strategy” developed to reduce vehicle emissions.

The Sunday Times Driving reported, “Tesla has created an emergency response Model 3 that will be tested by the UK police, fire brigades, and other emergency services.” They explained, “a quarter of its central fleet will be ultra-low emission by 2022, with that number set to increase to 100% by 2030, when the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will come into effect.”