We’ve covered stories about several police departments switching from older gas cars straight to Teslas (usually Model 3s), but now we’re starting to hear about the benefits they offer over ICEs. Aside from from the performance and no tailpipe emissions, it turns out a Model 3 is considerably less of a financial burden once purchased.
Yes, EVs are still more expensive to buy outright, but according to The EV Club of Connecticut, they are actually cheaper to run and maintain in the long run. It analyzed data from the Westport Police Department, which purchased its first Tesla Model 3 in late 2019 and it entered active service in January 2020.
The police department’s existing fleet consisted of Ford Explorer SUVs that cost around $37,000 to buy, compared to the Tesla Model 3’s $52,290 acquisition price. That’s a $15,290 difference, but based on information supplied in the source article, the Model 3 ended up saving them money.
Between the lower customization cost, savings on fuel and lower maintenance, it was calculated that a Model 3 would end up costing the police department $95,800 all in after four years. Compare that to the estimated $120,200 needed to buy, modify, maintain and run a Ford Explorer, and if you calculate, that’s a $24,400 difference, or savings of $6,100 per year.
The Chief of Police from Westport, CT, Foti Koskinas, says that they got help from Tesla to adapt the Model 3s for police use. He pointed out that
Tesla has been a great partner, including re-coding where necessary. We would not have been able to do things like wire the electronics into the large battery or access the car’s computer without their help.
Feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve have been contacted by at least 50 other police departments – from all over the world – with questions about our experience. I know many of them have gone on to purchase Teslas for their fleets.
It is worth noting that the pilot vehicle, the one bought in late 2019, only cost $14,300 to customize and that the customization cost will more than double for future Model 3s bought for police duty (presumably because outside help was provided for free since it was a pilot vehicle). Even so, it will still be marginally cheaper to convert than the Ford Explorer.