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Washington Police Don't Want Teslas As Patrol Cars Because They Think EVs Suck

The department doesn't view EVs as suitable patrol cars

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With the push for EVs, police departments across the country are going to have to figure out what to do with their dinosaur fleets. The backbone of many of these departments is still Crown Victorias, though the shift to Explorers and Chargers in recent years has updated some fleets. Some cities, though, want to go green but are facing pushback from their police departments. As local Washington state outlet The Spokesman Review reports, Spokane Police don’t want the Teslas nor any of the other EVs the city is planning to purchase.

The city and the police department are at odds over the future direction of the department’s fleet. The city of Spokane has a plan to purchase 64 vehicles this year. Spokane city council president Breean Beggs wants those vehicles to be EVs. The move comes as Washington state moves to transition to all EVs by 2030. Beggs wants EVs “as required by both state and city law whenever feasible.” But the department is saying no way.


Why? Teslas just don’t make for good patrol cars. The police department already has two Teslas in its fleet. Per the Review:

They’re not a suitable police car. They are too small. They are not designed for police work,” Maj. Michael McNab told the Spokane City Council’s Public Safety and Community Health Committee earlier this month.


Department leaders recently showed city leaders what they meant, pointing out the tight confines of Tesla’s interior with an internal employee survey backing up the fact that officers don’t like the small interior space. But Beggs counted by saying that if the department doesn’t want Teslas they can choose another EV.

None of this is to say that the department doesn’t want anything efficient. It currently prefers to use Explorer Hybrids as its patrol cars. But there is also a money issue. At nearly every level, everything else but Tesla makes more sense. From the article:

It costs about $30,000 to fully outfit a Tesla as a patrol car, not including the cost of buying the vehicle, compared to about $8,000 to $15,000 for a K8 Hybrid, according to the department.

But even with those additional commissioning costs, the estimated five-year cost of ownership to the city is $101,000 for the Tesla and $99,000 for the K8 Hybrid, a negligible difference.

Beggs countered that by saying that EVs may last longer, so the cost savings would be seen over time. But Beggs is frustrated with the department’s aversion to EVs.

“The challenge is they keep looking for reasons to say no instead of how to accomplish,” he says. But McNabb just doesn’t think that EVs are the right cars right now. “For this 64-vehicle purchase, there isn’t a suitable electric vehicle solution, and if we were to buy any one of these alternatives we would just be experimenting with electric cars on a grander scale than we are with the two Teslas.”