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The Tesla Model S reports for police cruiser duty in California

Fremont Police Tesla S
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Police officers in Fremont, California, will soon catch bad guys without burning a drop of gasoline. The city is preparing to add a Tesla Model S to its fleet of police cruisers as part of a pilot program.

The process of turning a Tesla Model S into a police cruiser began in January 2018, when the Fremont Police Department purchased a used, pre-facelift 2014 85 model for $61,478 including taxes and fees to replace a 2007 Dodge Charger that was scheduled to retire. The law enforcement agency explained it didn’t choose the Model S because Tesla’s headquarters and factory are in Fremont. The Model S was the only electric car that met the department’s size, performance, driving range, and safety requirements.

It has taken Fremont police a year to turn the Model S into a cop car because the department had to work with aftermarket suppliers to develop equipment like a light bar, a push bumper, a prisoner partition, and ballistic barriers. The department pointed out customizing the Model S has cost $4,447 to date, though that figure is expected to increase during the final phase of the project. The Tesla is slightly more expensive to configure than, say, a Ford Explorer because there is no police package available from the factory. The police department expects to recoup its investment, however.

In a statement published online, it pegged the cost of keeping a Ford Explorer’s fuel tank full for five years at about $32,000. Maintenance costs (like oil changes) amount to $15,000 during the same time period. In comparison, the Model S is gasoline-free and it requires considerably less maintenance than an Explorer. Fremont police haven’t revealed how much they plans on spending on electricity and maintenance. As an added bonus, the department expects to keep the Model S for longer than a comparable gasoline-powered model, which has a service life of approximately five years.

To charge the Model S sustainably, the Fremont police spent an unspecified amount of money installing 872 kilowatts’ worth of solar panels over its carports. These channel electricity to three charging stations.

The Fremont police will deploy the Model S as part of a pilot program in the coming weeks. The department will test the car in real-world conditions to monitor its durability, range, performance, and costs. If the results are positive, it’s reasonable to assume additional electric cars will join the department’s fleet to bolster the city’s green initiatives.

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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