Police Officers Aren't Happy With Their Tesla Patrol Cars

Electric Vehicles / 24 Comments

Range anxiety and cramped interiors are drawbacks, say Spokane law enforcement.

The adoption of electric vehicles for emergency services is nothing new. In the UK, law enforcement can't get enough of the Model 3 and they're not alone. In Thailand, local police dropped a whopping $3 million on a fleet of leased Teslas. The benefits are clear to see. Government spending is reduced (no more hefty fuel and maintenance bills), local air quality is improved, and there's plenty of performance on tap when needed.

However, not all police departments are pleased with their electric vehicles. The Spokane Police Department in Spokane, Washington, has come to the conclusion that the Tesla Model Y patrol car simply isn't up to the job. Speaking to 4 News Now, Major Mike McNab said the Teslas were exposed to demanding conditions.

"[They're exposed to] two shifts per day, with a rest period of three hours in between. The batteries couldn't keep up with that, especially with the charging infrastructure available right now."

4 News Now/YouTube
4 News Now/YouTube
4 News Now/YouTube

Another issue brought on by the Model Y patrol car is interior space. Officers reportedly bemoaned the lack of roominess when compared to the standard Ford Explorer police interceptors. Bedecked in a full suite of police gear, patrolmen described the Model Y's innards as not comfortable.

However, the Tesla won't be relegated to the back of the parking lot. 4 News reports the electric SUV has been nabbed by the domestic violence unit. Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs said it's disappointing that the battery-powered patrol car didn't work out but said the purchase was still justified. "They still had to buy vehicles for DV [domestic violence], so they're still getting their use."

Beggs has been pushing for the adoption of electric vehicles in the police department. The town council reportedly approved over $2.3 million for Spokane Police to purchase 35 new patrol vehicles. Among them are five Mustang Mach-E SUVs, three F-150 Lightning pickup trucks, and 25 Ford K8 Police Interceptor Hybrids.

4 News Now/YouTube
4 News Now/YouTube
4 News Now/YouTube

Major McNab notes the police department's infrastructure isn't ideal for charging an EV. If the city had planned to introduce electric vehicles to the fleet, surely fast chargers - or better chargers, at least - should have been installed at the station? Whatever the reason may be, it doesn't make much sense to run an electric police car without adequate charging infrastructure.

It's not just charging that is an issue, though. McNab also highlights the cost of outfitting a vehicle such as the Model Y to police specification. Whereas Ford Interceptor vehicles come kitted out from the factory, it can cost as much as $30,000 to convert a vehicle into a patrol car. That certainly wipes out any cost-saving afforded by the electric motor.

Breean Beggs says it works out cheaper in the long run, though. "Electric vehicles are reported to last twice as long. Any time you buy an electric vehicle, it's like you're buying two vehicles for one," said the City Council President.

4 News Now/YouTube
4 News Now/YouTube
4 News Now/YouTube

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