In its eight years of existence, Tesla, Inc. has sold nearly 2.5 million all-electric vehicles.
One was sold to the Eden Prairie Police Department in 2021, and today, it serves the community as a standard patrol vehicle alongside its traditional gas-powered squad cars.
“It has performed well,” said Lt. Ron Johnson of the department.
The Model Y Tesla is one of 28 patrol cars and 47 vehicles in the department’s current inventory. It is a standard four-door sedan and stands out visually because, unlike almost all law enforcement agencies, the Eden Prairie police have converted from sedans to SUVs.
It has all the “bells and whistles” one expects on a cop car — siren, flashing lights, wire barrier between the front and back seats, etc.
The only difference is that the Tesla (an electric vehicle) uses electricity and must be charged as its power supply (through a series of batteries) diminishes. Unlike an internal combustion engine, where filling up the gas tank can take just a few minutes, electric-powered cars can take up to several hours.
The city has seven charging stations alone in the police vehicle parking lot at city hall. According to Johnson, the department has three electric Ford trucks and three electric Chevrolet Blazers on order.
“The charge time for the Tesla varies,” Johnson said.
Like a conventional gas-powered car, that time to recharge is all over the place.
“We time it so it occurs when the car is not needed for duties for several hours,” he said.
So, a lot of the charging of the car occurs at night.
The department has the most advanced rapid chargers currently available.
So, how does Tesla perform? Since its introduction in 2014, Tesla has posted impressive numbers.
It goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 140 mph.
Historically, the car has been in no spectacular high-speed chases, just everyday situations where its performance has lived up to expectations.
When buying an EV in 2021, the city had two major objectives: to contribute to the ever-growing efforts to reduce carbon emissions and to lower maintenance costs.
The emission reduction is self-evident. So far, maintenance on the Tesla has been approximately $2,000 less than that of a conventional gas-powered department vehicle.
Johnson points out that the Tesla has no specific officers assigned to operate it.
“It is in our regular rotation of available squad cars,” he said. “Whoever gets it, gets it.”
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