As electric vehicles become more mainstream in the United States, some police departments are looking to add them their fleets.
Although the initial cost of acquisition will be higher, a decision to adopt electric vehicles over their traditional counterparts will pay off in the long term.
The average city police department spends around $6,400 per year in fuel and $3,000 in maintenance per vehicle. When calculated over a five year period that number becomes $47,000, which could be reduced significantly with EVs, as they require no fuel and significantly less maintenance.
Los Angeles, for example, ordered 100 BMW i3s for their police department. These vehicles are in service today, although they are not terribly popular among the officers and staff due to their limited all-electric range. Most of their i3s, in fact, have less than 3,000 miles on their odometers.
Having spent over four million dollars on this little project, the LAPD certainly could have done a better job at planning out the use of the BMW i3 vehicles. It would have made a lot more sense to purchase 50 long-range Tesla Model X vehicles instead, which can get up to 280 miles on a charge versus 85 miles in the i3.
The city of Los Angeles said in 2016, they want electric cars to make up 80 percent of their municipal-fleet vehicle purchases by 2025. The good news is they now have a significant amount of level-2 charging stations, due to their i3 program. Additionally, electric vehicles are becoming less expensive with longer range abilities, allowing for easier incorporation into the city fleet.
People are often claim EVs won’t work for fleet deployment scenarios because of limited range and charging capabilities, but that’s simply not the case. It’s the lack of appropriate planning and vehicle selection which often leads to failed EV implementation, as we’ve seen in Los Angeles.
The Tesla Model S and X are becoming the vehicles of choice among many police departments all over the world. In the US, the Los Angeles and the Denver Police Departments are both using Model S sedans as part of their fleets. In Europe, Scotland Yard says that it is considering the vehicle and the Luxembourg Police have converted two Model S sedans into patrol cars. In Canada, the Ontario Provincial Police also recently received a brand new Model X, which they also converted to a police vehicle.
Clearly, there is a demand among cities to incorporate electric vehicles into their fleets as police cars and other municipal vehicles, as they can reduce costs and help the environment. While there is a significant amount of upfront investment involved in adapting to electric-vehicle use, it’s a better long-term investment with fewer associated costs over a ten year period.
It looks as though the adoption of electric police cars will rapidly expand over the next ten years, but it will no doubt take some getting used to. Cities without the existing infrastructure to support such vehicles will need local approval.
Unfortunately, that’s not likely to come easily as some people don’t like the idea of electric police vehicles, due to the added initial cost and range limitations. A mix of hybrid and electric police vehicles could make up the majority of large city fleets as the most sensible compromise. With this solution, you really get the best of both worlds.