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

Police departments around the U.S. have had a tough time in the turbulent past few years. Politics aside, it used to be funny watching police officers play solitaire on in-car computers while driving on the road. However, are Tesla police cars and electric vehicles the answer to police department woes?

Are there Tesla police cars?

Are Tesla police cars a good idea?
An LAPD Tesla police car | Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Co-Star Entertainment

A few police departments around the country have opted to add some Tesla electric vehicles to fleets. According to Business Insider, one New York police department took delivery of a Tesla Model Y EV and received immediate backlash. The Hastings-on-Hudson Police Department was proud of the Model Y purchase and posted the new vehicle on social media.

“The Hastings PD took delivery of a brand new Tesla Model Y today! It will serves as the police car assigned to the Detective Division. This is the first Model Y that has been outfitted with lights, sirens and radio for police use – in the whole country (maybe even the world!) Keep an eye out for our new ride!”

Hastings on Hudson Police Department

The department noted officers would use the Model Y for the detective decision. Social media users did not love the idea of the $50,000 electric vehicle purchase. The usual Dodge Charger retails at around $30,000 brand new. This makes the Tesla more expensive up front, but the cost of maintenance in the future helps balance things out.

What police department has Tesla police cars?

The Hastings-on-Hudson Police Department thought the Tesla investment was a good step in the direction of environmental sustainability and a lower gas bill. Over five years, the Model Y could save around $8,500 in fuel savings. In addition, electric vehicles often require less maintenance than regular gasoline-powered vehicles.

Companies like Amazon and the United States Postal Service have started making the switch to electric. Companies like Rivian have started providing EVs to said companies to be more green and save on fuel.

Back in 2019, Business Insider reported that a Fremont Police Department was using Tesla police cars. However, someone forgot to charge the Tesla Model S, and the criminal got away. “I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla, so I may lose it here in a sec,” Jesse Hartman, a Fremont Police Department officer, said. Eventually, the vehicle did die but other Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles were nearby to continue the pursuit. This can happen with both ICE and EVs though.

What are the cost benefits to a Tesla EV?

Price savings using a Tesla police car | Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut

More Tesla police cars are popping up around the country. The Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut published an article recently on how the department’s Tesla saves “tens of thousands of dollars.” The group stated that the purchase premium was recouped after one year, and after four years, the savings would be enough to purchase another Tesla police car. The use of one EV saved 23.5 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

The Westport Police purchased a Tesla Model 3 to be fully customized for the department’s use. The department picked the Model 3 due to the low price. Based on the idea that electric vehicles have lower maintenance costs than regular gasoline-powered vehicles, the graph above demonstrates that. The group compared this to the costs associated with a standard Ford Explorer.

It shows the savings of the Tesla police car continued to increase as the years went on. While the cost of the Tesla stayed around the same, the cost of maintenance on a Ford Explorer continued to grow over the years. While this information might not apply to every Tesla across the board, it does offer an interesting point. Tesla police cars might take some getting used to, but the electric vehicles seem to provide benefits that gasoline-powered vehicles offer less of.

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