The Windham County Sheriff’s Office took delivery of a 2020 Tesla Model 3 the week of Oct. 12, as part of a pilot project around deploying alternative energy vehicles to its fleet. The vehicle was purchased to replace an aging 2013 Ford Interceptor SUV that was due to be decommissioned.
“The Model 3 has checked off a variety of goals for us, but one primary factor was the cost savings,” said Sheriff Mark Anderson. “We predict a fuel and maintenance savings up to 80% based on our current fleet expenditures. Electric vehicles don’t need things like regular oil changes. The electric cost of driving this vehicle one mile is approximately $0.03 to $0.04, compared to $0.10-$0.20 for a gas vehicle. While we pay a higher purchase price up front for the vehicle, compared to a standard police package vehicle, the savings over the life of the vehicle are projected to cost less overall.”
Tesla Model 3’s come with a four-year, 50,000 mile warranty, as well as an eight-year, 130,000 mile warranty on the battery and drive. While not specifically designed for police work, the vehicle can receive most of the police equipment normally used.
It wasn’t just the cost savings that led the department to the car, however. “We initially sought to purchase a police package vehicle earlier this year,” said Sergeant Dana Shepard, the department’s fleet manager. “As a result of COVID-19, we were faced with significant delays in being able to order, let alone purchase a standard police package vehicle. When we learned we could have a Tesla delivered within 4-6 weeks, we began researching its viability.”
There are also environmental benefits as well. Electric vehicles have a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to their gas counterparts. The Vermont Legislature recently passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) in an effort to reduce carbon emissions in Vermont. “We began researching an all-electric vehicle for law enforcement back in 2019, prior to the GWSA being introduced,” said Sheriff Anderson. “Vermont has had a long tradition of caring for the environment and this simply fit the ethos. One estimate shows this vehicle with 80% less carbon emission than the vehicle its replacing."