Police electric vehicle specs and solutions
Early forays into EVs have identified high performance with lower maintenance costs
This article originally appeared in the Police1 Digital Edition, "Police1 guide to patrol vehicle electrification." Download your copy here.
By Police1 Staff
More and more public safety organizations are taking action to reduce emissions and the use of fossil fuels through the addition of electric vehicles (EVs) to public safety fleets.
Police departments across the country have been adding EVs to their patrol fleets for several years. Some, like the NYPD, the Berea (Kentucky) Police Department and the Bargersville (Indiana) Police Department, have purchased Tesla Model 3s.
Others have outfitted a Tesla Model S or Y as a patrol car – in the Fremont (California) Police Department’s case, both.
And some departments are testing the waters, like the Eden Prairie (Minnesota) Police Department, which put a Tesla Model Y into service to replace a Dodge Charger, or the Nitro (West Virginia) Police Department, which added a Tesla Model 3 in 2021 for a single-vehicle trial.
Tesla isn’t the only manufacturer of electric vehicles used by law enforcement. The Ford Mustang Mach-E was tested by the Michigan State Police to determine if it’s a viable option for law enforcement. Ford reported that the Mustang Mach-E passed the tests of acceleration, top speed, braking and high-speed pursuit, as well as emergency response handling characteristics.
The Chevy Bolt EV is used by some law enforcement agencies, but has a more compact size and lower range. The Ford F-150 Lightning is a pick-up option that’s also getting the attention of fleet managers.
Early EV adopters are reporting their forays into electric vehicles are resulting in lower operational and maintenance costs than internal combustion engine patrol cars, with the performance to boot.
Electric vehicle implementation
Depending on how a public safety agency plans to deploy and charge their electric vehicles, they will need to install either level 3 direct current chargers or level 2 alternating current chargers.
Level 3 chargers, like the Tesla Supercharger network, quickly replenish a vehicle's battery but are much more expensive to install. Level 2 chargers, which most consumer electric vehicle owners use at home, are less expensive to install, but take longer to charge the vehicle.
Some charging setups allow the vehicles, and, in some cases, stations, generate and store additional power.
Though electric vehicles are currently a fraction of a percent of total vehicle purchases by law enforcement agencies, a combination of successful implementations, lower cost, higher performance, accelerating technology, increased vehicle options and lofty carbon emissions reduction goals will drive more and more electric vehicle purchases in the years ahead.