Police departments across the country are making strides in moving toward zero emissions fleets, as their municipalities, counties, and states enact laws requiring them to go green. Here are some of the latest police fleets to add zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) to their fleets.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, PD Aims for Lower Maintenance Costs in First All-Electric Vehicles
The Cambridge, Massachusetts, Police Department rolled out its first all-electric vehicle to its fleet, in support of the city's Clean Fleet Initiative and Climate Action Plan.
The 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E was placed into service last week. The cruiser, which replaces an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, will be used by the department's traffic unit. Two other unmarked Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles have also been deployed for the Criminal Investigations Unit and administrative assignments, the department reported.
The Mach-E was selected after a thorough review of electric vehicle (EV) options. The department reported that its members spoke with law enforcement partners throughout the region and country about their EV fleets. It's estimated that the Mach-E will reduce fuel usage by 2,800 gallons per year. Maintenance costs are expected to drop by a minimum of $1,500 per year. Other decommissioned marked cruisers with combustion engines on the fleet have been replaced with hybrid vehicles.
The department’s next step is to upgrade its current infrastructure to support an EV fleet of marked cruisers. These will replace the hybrid alternatives and move toward cleaner energy use in the coming years. The department is aligned with a clean fleet goal of 100% zero-emission police cruisers by June 30, 2035.
The department obtained an electric vehicle rebate to help purchase the vehicle.
Somerset, Wisconsin, PD Chooses EV for Expected Taxpayer Savings, Among Other Benefits
The Somerset, Wisconsin, Police Department took delivery of its newest patrol vehicle in January: a Tesla Model Y. In a Facebook post, the police chief explained why he chose an EV over another ICE vehicle. Chief Joel Trepczyk said that since taking his position in 2010, the department has seen re-occuring costly maintenance and repair issues within the fleet. At one point, he explained, repair costs were so high that they prevented the department from purchasing new vehicles.
The department did previously test a hybrid vehicle. In 2019, the department purchased what the chief called a "less than ideal" 2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid Police Responder vehicle. The outgoing Ford Police Interceptor Utility (PIU) vehicles were averaging 10 mpg, compared to the hybrid's 24+ mpg.
Somerset PD's most recent retired PIU racked up over $15,000 worth of maintenance and repair costs, depreciated over $30,000, and was averaging 10 mpg over its 5-year/ 100,000-mile duty cycle, according to Trepczyk.
The department proposed a Tesla Model Y because Trepczyk estimated it would save taxpayers approximately $80,000 over its 10-year duty cycle. The vehicle was purchased using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, as well as a grant and donations. The purchase price for the vehicle was $60,000.
Here are some of the reasons Trepczyk listed for his decision to purchase the Tesla Model Y:
- No oil changes.
- Regenerative braking.
- Battery designed for 500,000 miles.
- 5 year/125,000 mile drivetrain and battery warranty.
The police equipment in the vehicle is hooked up to an auxiliary battery, which is charged via two OEM USB outlets and has a very minor impact on overall range, Trepczyk explained in an FAQ. All of the police equipment -- including the lights and siren -- could be left on for over 24 hours without the battery being fully depleted, he said.
The department added reflective decals on the vehicle to make sure the public could easily identify it as a police vehicle since it is not a traditional police vehicle, the chief explained.
A Tesla Wall Connector was and installed at the police department to charge the vehicle. It charges at a rate of 25 miles per hour via the “Level 2” electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Most officers average 30-60 miles per shift.Trepczyk said he's also applying for a “Energy Innovation Grant” through the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to provide a solar charge port for the vehicle, so it can operate independent of the local energy grid.
Minnesota PD Adds its First EV to Patrol Fleet, Chief Discusses Expected Challenges
The Northfield, Minnesota, Police Department recently took ownership of its first EV for its patrol fleet -- a 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E -- after facing delays in getting the vehicle due to supply chain constraints. The purchase is part of the city's Strategic Plan and Climate Action Goals. It's being considered a test vehicle for the department. Northfield PD will run a two-year test cycle to fully evaluate whether the vehicle can meet the needs of a police service vehicle in the cold climate of Minnesota.
Police Chief Mark Elliott told Government Fleet that he chose the Mach-E for its all-wheel drive capabilities to handle the snow and ice of Minnesota winters. The vehicle was also chosen for its SUV-style carrying capacity for emergency response equipment, and because there is a nearby Ford dealership should the department need dealer support for service. The department also has a mix of hybrid vehicles in its fleet.
Elliott said the vehicle will reduce carbon emissions. However, he expects to face and address some challenges with the vehicle. Operating EVs require operators to be more conscious about battery charging times, since they take longer to charge than an ICE vehicle does to fill with gas. This could especially lead to trouble if an officer needs to take a juvenile to a holding facility, for example. Northfield doesn't have its own juvenile holding facility, so officers must drive to the nearest one, which is about 60 miles each way, Elliott told KYMN Radio. The same applies for the nearest detox center. If an officer is making that trip at the end of a shift when much of the battery is gone, it can be a challenge.
The equipment the vehicle is outfitted with could lead the battery to be drained more quickly. To prevent this, Elliott had a second electrical system installed, which will power the equipment with a separate lithium-ion battery. Initial testing showed the car can run an entire shift with the setup. When running the emergency lighting for a six-hour test, the battery showed a 20% draw. An app allows for officers to monitor the battery and charging condition.
New York PD's New EV is Latest in County Fleet, Part of Pilot Program
The Westchester County, New York, Department of Public Safety obtained its first all-electric marked patrol vehicle. The vehicle is designated for assignment to the County Police precinct in the village of Mount Kisco. The 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E is the latest addition to the county’s growing fleet of EVs, which are utilized by multiple county government agencies, according to a press release.
Public Safety Commissioner Terrance Raynor said the purchase is part of a pilot program to assess the effectiveness of the Mach- E as a patrol vehicle to determine whether more should be purchased for the department in the future.
The vehicle is the fifth EV in the county's fleet. The county also has multiple hybrid vehicles in its police fleet.
Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Commissioner Hugh Greechan said the electric patrol vehicle will be cheaper to operate and maintain than gasoline-powered patrol cars. The department oversees the purchase, preparation, and maintenance of vehicles used by all county government agencies.
“There is ample evidence that electric-powered vehicles don’t experience the wear and tear that gasoline-powered vehicles do, and therefore do not need to come of the road as often for regular maintenance,” he said.
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