Range anxiety took on an entirely new meaning when Jesse Hartman, a police officer in Fremont, California, embarked on a high-speed chase in a Tesla Model S patrol car with six miles of driving left in its battery pack. Officers blamed the incident on human error, not on Tesla’s technology, or on the charger they use to charge the pack.
Hartman explained the chase started in Fremont, the town in which Tesla’s headquarters and main factory are located. He reached speeds of up to 120 miles an hour while chasing a suspect driving what he called a felony vehicle. There’s no word on what the suspect was driving, but the Model S evidently has no problem reaching 120 mph. The situation took a turn for the worse when he noticed a message on the digital instrument cluster indicating the car was about to run out of electricity.
“I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla, so I may lose it here in a sec,” he told his colleagues over the radio, according to The Mercury News. Without losing sight of the suspect, he asked someone else with more driving range — whether it’s from gasoline or electricity — to move into the No. 1 spot in the chase. Officers called off the chase before one of them got to the opportunity to replace Hartman after the suspect began dangerously driving on the shoulder to avoid traffic.
Hartman told The Mercury News he nearly ran out of electricity because someone forgot to charge the Tesla. The six-mile range wasn’t enough to get him back to the police station, so he stopped at a charging station in San Jose and waited for electricity before returning to Fremont.
The 2014 Model S performs when well it’s charged at the recommended intervals. In July 2019, Fremont police captain Sean Washington told The Mercury News that officers use 50-60% of the car’s driving range during a normal, 11-hour shift. The Fremont police department hasn’t announced whether it will add more Tesla vehicles to its fleet.
As for the suspect, police officers found the car Hartman chased in the Tesla after it was driven into bushes and abandoned. The driver, whose identity hasn’t been made public, remains at large.
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