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Police Swap Dodge Charger For Tesla Model S

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Is this is a sign of things to come?

The LAPD may have passed on the prospect of pressing the Tesla Model S into service, but another city in California is embracing the idea. It's Tesla's home town of Freemont, and it's piloting a program to turn its home-grown electric vehicle into a police cruiser.

The town of over a quarter-million in the San Francisco Bay Area purchased a single, second-hand 2014 Tesla Model S 85 a year ago and is evaluating it as a replacement for a long-serving 2007 Dodge Charger that it's putting to pasture. It's since been working with suppliers to upgrade it for police duty.

Modifications include a light bar on the roof, push-bar bumper on the nose, and ballistic barriers to better protect the officers on board from gunfire.

The city says it purchased the vehicle for $61,478.50, and has so far put in $4,447 in modifications – costs which "are expected to increase as final invoices come in." By comparison, Freemont Police notes, a Ford Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility costs about $40k, but has more police-equipment upgrades already available. Fortunately the city's police headquarters already has three charging stations and an array of solar panels already installed and ready to keep the Tesla juiced up in between patrols.

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"The electric patrol vehicle pilot program is an extension of the City's clean technology and smart city initiatives to help make Fremont a more sustainable community," said Fremont Police Captain Sean Washington. "Given that Fremont Police vehicle fleet is responsible for a total of 980 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, this program has the potential to eliminate 10 percent of all municipal greenhouse gas emissions."

The pilot program is a joint effort between Freemont's police, finance, engineering, fleet, information-technology, building-maintenance, community-development, and public-works departments. The city aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by next year.