Elon Musk calls Swiss police ‘smart’ for adopting Tesla Model X SUVs

'The bad guys will def not escape,' Musk quips on Swiss police adopting Model X

New Swiss police cruisers will be cleaner, cheaper, and way faster than the dirtier cars used now. The Basel-Stadt police department focused on economy and ecology in its decision to replace current diesel-powered vehicles with Tesla Model X police cars.

Though the department has already faced a backlash from naysayers, particularly in regard to cost, it does have at least one fan of its decision. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, not one to mince words, called the move a “smart” one. “Plus,” he added, “the bad guys will def not escape.”

Environmental concerns were foremost in the search for new police cars. Because the choice of fully electric vehicles that meet the department’s requirements is limited to a single source, the usual process of soliciting competitive bids was bypassed. The Tesla Model X more than meets the department’s needs.

Current police vehicles in service in the area travel an average 120 miles per day. That distance falls well within the Tesla’s 310-mile range per full charge. The acquisition plan also includes two electrical charging stations for the central vehicle storage and maintenance facility, and two stations in each of two additional police stations.

The Tesla Model X’s payload, storage space, and excellent handling figured in the Swiss decision, but ownership and operational costs plus clean air were the most important factors.

Basel’s current diesel police cruisers each cost about $97,000. At approximately $147,000 fully equipped with specified police equipment, the Tesla initial purchase cost is higher than the diesel-powered cars they will replace. Operation and maintenance will cost less for the Teslas and eventual resale value will be higher, according to the police department. Overall, the plan is a financial and environmental win.

Drawing from the department’s 1 million Swiss franc budget allocation (approximately $1,048,000), the first of seven ordered Teslas is due to arrive in the fall of 2018. The rest of the SUVs are slated for delivery in 2019, police spokesperson Martin Schütz said in an interview with Telebasel.

The Basel police department’s decision was relatively easy, despite accusations of police driving luxury cars and questions by local politicians concerning why BMW or Mercedes weren’t considered.

“The planned replacement of diesel combi vehicles … by the Tesla Model X 100D brings only advantages in terms of economy and ecology as well as in view of the existing storage space in the vehicle and safety,” Schütz told Telebasel.

Basel-Stadt’s isn’t the only police department to choose Teslas. The LAPD uses electric vehicles for various functions and has tested the Tesla Model S for patrol use. Police departments in Denver, Colorado; Ontario, Canada; and in England and Luxembourg are currently testing or employing Tesla Model S sedans, reports Electrek.

Updated on March 22: Added Elon Musk’s response to Swiss police using Model X in their fleet.