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Old 14th September 2020, 16:46   #1
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Default EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback

I came across this video interview on Youtube in which the Police Chief of Westport Connecticut Police Department (PD) gives his detailed opinion about the use of a TESLA Model 3 Performace model as a police vehicle. The PD took an intiative to try this car as their Police vehicle(PV) and see if it can fulfill their needs.

Now PVs are normally ordered from Ford or GM and they have been doing this for long. Hence they give options for all additional fitting such as lights, radios and other equipments that the officers generally need. But since Tesla had never done the PD had to take some outside help from third party companies to retrofit the car with additional gear.

Do note that this is not the first EV or Tesla that have been used as a Police Vehicle. But this is the first time we have some insight on how they are used. Model S have been used in PDs before, but how they have faired is not know. This could possibly be among the first few instances where a Model 3 is used as a PV.

One of the major concerns for people is that in case of a high speed chase what if the battery runs out of juice. Now according to the chief, this is nothing different than the a normal ICE car running into mechanical problems or its fuel running out during a chase. Backup can always be relied upon.

The detailed interview can be seen on youtube.

This is an hour long video. Very intuitive and interesting to watch.

The following are the comments from the chief and a senior officer who use the Tesla.

  • 1. The total landed cost of the car is $53,000. Model 3 Performance. (Not sure if the modications such as radio, lights etc were an additional extra)

    2. One of the major satisfying factors were that the car has the highest safety rating which means the officer will be considerably safe in case of a crash.

    3. Because of the incredible acceleration of the car, when chasing down a traffic offender or a suspect, they can catch up to the other car much quicker than before. This according to him is a big boon to the PD.

    4. Before purchasing the car they hired an independent reviewer who could work out the feasbility of using an EV as a PV.

    5. Even before buying the car, they figured that they could still sell the car at a good price one year down the line, in case it doesnt work out for them. Because its a Tesla, and resale value is high.

    6. PVs normally run in two shifts of 8 hrs each, ie a total of 16 hrs a day and they are able to manage this easily with the Tesla (What intervals they charge is not mentioned)

    7. Because police cars run for this long a period per day, an ICE car always needs a lot of maintenance. Another painpoint was brakes, which in a PV used to get hot a lot. Hence they needed replacement every 7500 miles. (12k kms). Now since Telsa has regenrative braking, brakes are not replaceda as often.

    8. Obviously no need for oil changes which was too frequent earlier.

    9. Police vehicles spend a lot of time idling. Normally an ICE car is replaced every 125K miles. (201K kms). But it will also have 300K engine hours in idling state. And if you do the math, (according to the chief). Thats a total of 200K engine miles (322K kms) for the car.

    10. The fuel cost saving alone is $13,770 in the first year. Hence even though there is an upfront higher cost for the tesla, they start saving money from the 2nd day itself.

    11. Tesla did not have police lighting system of their own as provided by Ford and GM. Hence they had to give the work to a third party company. The third party companies are more than willing to work on a Tesla because they think this trend will catch on.

    12. The front trunk of the car is now dedicated to store medical equipments and supplies. Hence they are not just dumped into the trunk along with their tactical gear.

    13. Because the Tesla has a pretty sophisticated infotainment system. It is poosible to plug diffent software applications onto the system. Hence the PD is working with Tesla to integrate the light controls and radio control on the screen and also control them via the buttons on the steering wheel.
    So when the officer has to speak into the radio which is a seperate hand held device. The officer has to reach out to the hand held and bring it close and speak into it. Once it is intergated into the infotainment system, the officer will have to just push the button on the steering and speak like a handsfree than use a seperate radio device. Currently they are using the traditional systems until this is developed. Interesting note: The officers find it easier to use the radio in an EV because the cabin is comparatively quiter that an ICE car.

    14. Also the current infotainment system may have a lot of features on it which is not needed for the officer. Ex: Some games and Spotify, which can be removed and make the system clutter free and only keep those apps which is needed.

    15. Tesla has been very supportive of the above intergration and are currently working with the PD on the same.

    16. The computer that we see in a PV is called as an MDT(Mobile Data Terminal). Its used to fetch information about different vehicles, run background check etc. Now this Tesla does not currently have an MDT. They are planning to use Tesla internal computer to connect to the server, so that they dont have to fit an entire computer in the car. Tesla is now working with the companies that provide the MDT service to integrate the software in the central computer itself.
    The MDT software company is currently working on APIs that will be available to Tesla to help them create apps to make the information available to the officers. This integration is currently going on and will take some time for its completion.

    17. The Chief was also able to get non-compete and non-disclosure clauses removed when developing the systems for the Tesla, so that another PD will not have to do this work all over again. As of now more that 200 PD's across the country have expressed interest and enquired with this PD about the feasibility of using an EV at their end.

    18. The Auto Pilot feature on the car has been turned off as police work will not see much use of it.

    19. The Auto-Pilot on a Tesla works because of multiple cameras on the car. Just the front of the car has 4 cameras. Also every Police Vehicle has front facing cameras fitted to it for recording traffic violators and suspects. PVs also has a seperate License Plate Reading camera system which does the work of identifying vehicles as they drive along. What Telsa is doing now is leveraging the cameras of the auto-pilot that is already present in the car to record security footage and also identify number plates. Which means no additional camera system need to be fitted in the car.

    20. Overall the PD is very happy with the car. And the feedback is very positive and the officers love it. They also love the acceleration because of which they can catch up to a traffic violator quicker from a standstill which was slower earlier. One of the most important things for them is the safety aspect of the car which will keep the officer safe in case of a crash.
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Old 14th September 2020, 17:04   #2
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Default re: EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback

I saw this video last week, very forward thinking chief and officer who was also a programmer. The biggest revelation from the episode is they can use the car for 2 shifts without the need of charging in between shifts.

Unlike what we see in movies and high chase videos, most of the PV's spend their time idleing or stopping cars without a chase.
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Old 14th September 2020, 20:52   #3
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Default re: EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback

Considering the Westport Connecticut Police Department (WCPD) started with just 1 Tesla, hope they will have a better long-term result to show than what the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). LAPD appears to have joined the EV bandwagon in 2014 using BMW i3 EVs which after sitting in garages for the better part of the intervening years are now being sold through the CPO route:

And BMW beat Tesla then to bag the contract then!
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Old 14th September 2020, 22:55   #4
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Default re: EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback

Yes they do have a BMW i3 and two Toyota Prius's in their fleet. But the BMW is limited for patrolling in the nearby school areas and the prius is used while enforcing parking rules in the city. Hence they are not taken on the highway. The BMW was actually donated by a local gentleman to the police department.
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Old 15th September 2020, 06:48   #5
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Default Re: EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback

Thank god! When I read the title, I was like "uh oh, some cop in India used an e-Verito and has junked EVs again".

Very sensible police chief , loved his real-world observations. Tesla has definitely bridged the gap of an EV to a "regular car" and reviews like these are a testament to that. USA anyway has so many supercharging outlets that even a taxi company can use Teslas. I think India will have some capable EVs and a tiny fast charging network in 5 years. Enough for the early adopters.

Originally Posted by anivy View Post
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). LAPD appears to have joined the EV bandwagon in 2014 using BMW i3 EVs which after sitting in garages for the better part of the intervening years are now being sold through the CPO route
Very important to start off with the right EV. The i3 was a poor choice - it's like buying a Force Toofan and swearing off diesel UVs for life. I guess back then, Tesla only had the super premium Model S. If the LAPD were to get the Model 3 dual motor today, they'll turn into believers.
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Old 19th September 2020, 12:13   #6
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Default Re: EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback

If our government is serious about EV and the environment, they must invite Tesla to setup factories here, give them tax free land, a short tax holiday and reduce or eliminate duties on EVs. Once the infrastructure is setup and EV become popular, start taxing Tesla like a normal auto manufacturer.
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Old 19th September 2020, 21:12   #7
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Default Re: EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback

I've previously read somewhere that Kerala Govt is considering Nexon EV as a police patrolling car. It makes sense for Patrolling within city.

Tata Nexon EV to join government patrolling fleet in Kerala - Report

The Tata Nexon EV ordered by Kerala’s MVD will be used for patrolling by 65 Enforcement Squads of the Safe Kerala project. The state's MVD is going to lease the Tata Nexon EV from EESL, the government body which procures EVs for government use in bulk directly from automakers. It’s going for a dry lease contract, thus the EVs will be supplied without a chauffeur. The validity of the contract will be eight years and MVD will pay the whole amount upfront. A charging station will be set up at the office of all 65 Enforcement Squads.

Rendered images of Nexon EV. They look super cool! These images were also posted previously in Nexon official review thread.

EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback-tatanexondigitallypoliceinteceptor1e1587203652115.jpg

EV as a police car : A police chief's feedback-tatanexonevpolicepatrolvehicleb5e3.jpg
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