This could have been embarrassing.
Police vehicles are designed to be tough and durable and the last thing a law enforcement officer wants to see happen is vehicle failure, especially during a hot pursuit. This is really simple to avoid happening, honestly. Just make sure the police car has a full tank of gas. For an all-electric police car, it simply needs to be fully charged. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for a Fremont, California police officer earlier this week.
According to The Mercury News, Fremont police officer Jesse Hartman was at the wheel of the department's Tesla Model S patrol car when he identified a "felony vehicle" and began pursuit. Speeds quickly reached 120 mph on the highway and then it happened: the officer realized the Tesla's battery was almost depleted.
"I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla so I may lose it here in a sec," Officer Hartman reported back to dispatch. "If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?"
Fortunately, a stroke of good luck kicked in when the suspect began driving on the shoulder of the highway due to increased traffic. This resulted in the police calling off the nearly eight-minute chase out of safety concerns. The included video has the audio of Officer Hartman informing dispatch of his battery situation and his intent to add some juice. "I've got to try to find a charging station for the Tesla so I can make it back to the city," he said over the radio.
Other non-electric police cruisers arrived to take Hartman's place and the car they were chasing was later found crashed into some bushes. But the question is why was the Tesla's battery so low during a regular shift? Turns out someone had forgotten to recharge the Tesla after the previous shift. Obviously this was a mistake as the Model S and the whole electric vehicle concept is still fairly new to the Fremont police.
The department bought the used 2014 Model S last year and spent the next 12 months or so modifying it for police use. It finally hit the streets last March. Although the Model S cost about $20,000 more than a Ford Explorer Interceptor SUV, the department said it expects to save on fuel and maintenance costs over the long run. Just don't forget to keep it charged.