Cary launches Tesla Model Y electric patrol cars

Captain Brian Smith, who heads the Cary Police Department's Office of Professional Standards, steps out of one of the department's two new Tesla Model Y patrol <a class=cars on December 16, 2021.” title=”Captain Brian Smith, who heads the Cary Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards, steps out of one of the department’s two new Tesla Model Y patrol cars on December 16, 2021.” loading=”lazy”/>

Captain Brian Smith, who heads the Cary Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards, steps out of one of the department’s two new Tesla Model Y patrol cars on December 16, 2021.

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Using a Tesla as a police car may seem like an extravaganza to some, but Cary officials say it will make both environmental and economic sense for the city.

Cary’s first two Tesla Model Y patrol cars debuted at the city’s Christmas parade last weekend. They are the first in a long effort to gradually convert the city’s fleet of vehicles to electric, including the 130 or so cars and SUVs used by the police department.

“Electricity is our new standard,” said Deputy CEO Danna Widmar.

This is largely because the city wants to use less fossil fuels and create less pollution. But it turns out that going green is also more profitable in the long run.

The city paid $ 48,990 for each of the Teslas and an additional $ 15,250 each to equip them with lights and other features to use as patrol cars, said Brandon Pasinski, the city’s fleet manager. The city also paid $ 58,000 for a charging station.

Add it all up and the city paid about $ 10,000 more per car than the Ford Explorers in the department’s fleet.

But with lower fuel and maintenance costs, the city expects to make $ 4,000 per car in five years, their expected lifespan.

“If we are able to refurbish the vehicle it would be a lot more,” said Acting Police Chief Terry Sult. “Because with these things, change a few engines, change the battery, make sure you have good seats and good suspension, you’ve got a whole new car.”

The department uses Teslas in its traffic unit, which enforces speed limits and responds to accidents. They have a range of around 324 miles between charges, which is about three times the distance an officer travels in a typical shift, Sult said.

The department will be evaluating their durability in the years to come, Sult said, but first impressions are that Teslas perform better than gasoline cars.

“I have been in this business for five decades. The best performing police car I have ever driven was a Dodge Charger, ”he said. “And that hands down the Dodge Charger hands down, from a purely performance standpoint.”

Other government agencies are looking at electricity

Police departments across the country are experimenting with electric vehicles, either for environmental reasons or to prepare for a potential future where most cars and trucks will run on electricity.

The State Capitol Police Department has three fully electric Chevy Bolts, one of which is fully dressed and equipped as a patrol car. They are among the first acquired by the State Department of Public Safety under Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 80 on climate change. The ordinance, issued in 2018, set a statewide target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2025 and increasing the use of gas. electric vehicles.

Most of the $ 186,500 Cary paid for the Tesla’s and the charging station came from a drug confiscation fund, money that is to be used for law enforcement purposes, Widmar said.

The city will also use other types of electric vehicles. Earlier this year, it ordered its first electric sanitation truck, although delivery was delayed by supply chain issues.

Widmar has said any vehicles Cary buys in the future must meet his needs, but the city will look at electricity first.

“They might not all be Tesla,” she said. “Technology is changing all the time, so recently we are seeing a lot of newer electric vehicles coming out. “

Sult said the Tesla is too small for the police dog unit, so the department will have to look for something larger, like the F-150 Lightning pickup which is expected to be available in 2022.

Tesla’s weren’t the first electric vehicles for the police. He still has an unmarked Nissan Leaf that he bought a few years ago.

And three months ago, the department took delivery of a new electric golf cart, decked out with police decals and blue lights. Officers use the cart to patrol in and around the city center, Sult said.

In addition to two Tesla Model Ys, the Cary Police Department also recently acquired an electric golf cart to patrol downtown. Richard Riding [email protected]

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, as well as ferries, bicycles, scooters and quite simply on foot. Also, hospitals during the coronavirus epidemic. He has been a journalist or editor for 34 years, the last 22 of which at The N&O. 919-829-4739, [email protected]

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