As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the South Pasadena police department will replace its current vehicles with electric cars from Tesla. The department is in the process of switching to the new vehicles and intends to complete the transition by the start of next year.
Ten Model Y SUVs and ten Model 3 sedans will form the fleet, serving for patrol, detective work, and administrative duties.
While some of the battery-powered cars are already in use, others still require modifications for use on patrol. The city is installing over 30 charging ports at city hall to support the new electric fleet. South Pasadena is leasing the EVs from Enterprise for at least five years, at a cost of nearly $2 million from city funds and an additional $500,000 from a local committee dedicated to reducing vehicle pollution.
Brian Solinsky, the police chief, stated that the department has been exploring the shift to electric vehicles for the past few years and found them to be the most suitable operational option. Solinsky thinks the Teslas are safer and faster than the older vehicles and that they will help the city save money on fuel and maintenance costs.
In the next decade, the department expects to save $300,000 for each vehicle.
South Pasadena will be the first American city to have a fully electric police car fleet once all the EVs are operational. The community is environmentally aware, with a population of approximately 26,000 and covers 3.4 square miles.
Additionally, the city is taking measures to become more bike and pedestrian-friendly.
While South Pasadena is the first American city to convert entirely to an electric police fleet, it is not the first to experiment with electric patrol cars. The LAPD leased 100 BMW i3 EVs last decade but ended up using them infrequently.
Unlike the LAPD’s experience, the Teslas in South Pasadena seem to be performing well, with some already in use.