When we think of cop cars, many of us think of the Dodge Charger. That testosterone-filled muscle car has long been a favored pick for the men and women in blue. The pantheon also includes the Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Caprice, as well as the Ford Explorer. Now there’s a new name to add to the list: the Tesla Model 3.
- Indiana’s Bargersville Police Department has added a Tesla Model 3 to its fleet.
- The car was rebuilt to meet police department specifications.
- The Model 3 will replace a Dodge Charger in the department’s fleet of vehicles.
Bargersville is located about 20 miles south of Indianapolis. Adding an EV to its police vehicle fleet is a pretty forward-thinking approach for a town with a population of just 7,500.
Dollars and sense
Even though the Model 3 costs about eight grand more than the Charger it replaces, the Bargersville police department expects that making the switch will bring savings in the long run. Keeping the Charger’s tank full costs about $7,000 annually. With the Model 3, annual electricity costs are expected to come in at around $1,700. Relative to the Charger, insurance for the Model 3 is cheaper by about $200 per year, and the Tesla’s tires and brakes are also less expensive. All told, the department expects that the Model 3 will bring in more than $20,000 in savings over the next six years, with these benefits first becoming evident in the car’s third year of ownership.
The Model 3’s advantages over more traditional police vehicles don’t end there. Electric cars have almost instantaneous torque, and this can come in handy when you’re in hot pursuit. And while a silent electric motor can be a safety hazard when you’re sharing roads with cyclists and pedestrians, it allows police officers to creep up unnoticed when they have an alleged perpetrator in their sights. Finally, of course, there is the environmental benefit that the Model 3 brings. Its electric motor allows it to operate without releasing harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
So, should Tesla target the cop car business? It would be good news for police departments, which may save money by adding Tesla vehicles to their fleets. But Tesla is a luxury brand, and luxury brands live or die based on their perceived exclusivity. There’s nothing exclusive about a police car, and it might not do the brand’s image any favors if Model 3 sedans become fixtures in these fleets.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Electric cars started out being aimed mainly at the eco-conscious and those who enjoy being ahead of the curve. These days, they’re also practical and cost-efficient enough to provide savings for average car shoppers. The decision made by Bargersville’s police department underscores that point.