Westport Cops Go Green — Add Tesla To The Fleet

Savvy drivers know what our police cars look like.

They look like cop cars everywhere.

But this is Westport. The next time you’re pulled over, it may be by a … Tesla.

The newest addition to the Police Department fleet is a fully electric 2020 Tesla Model 3. The 310 mile-range electric vehicle has already been delivered. It’s being outfitted now with all the necessary equipment: emergency lights, siren, computer, weapon rack, and tires capable of speeds over 100 miles an hour.

It’s expected to hit the mean streets of Westport by the end of January.

No, this is not a speed trap by the Minute Man Monument. Although it might be.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says he “believes in being green.” But his main reason for choosing a Tesla was superior performance, crash ratings, and collision avoidance technology.

Officers will pass on the autopilot feature.

While the purchase price of $52,290 is higher than the $37,000 the department normally spends adding another Ford Explorer, Koskinas expects to more than make up for that in fuel and maintenance savings.

Just in the first 3 years, an internal combustion engine squad car requires about $11,000 in oil changes, oil filters, tuneups and brakes.

Teslas require no annual maintenance. Brakes last 70,000 miles or more, thanks to a motor system that slows the car while simultaneously recharging the battery.

A new look for the Westport Police Department fleet.

Savings on gas are significant too. The Department of Energy’s fuel economy calculator shows the Police Department’s cost per mile will be $0.040. The fuel cost for a Ford Explorer is $0.127 per mile — saving $13,770 in the first 3 years.

Charging the battery is not an issue. The vehicle is expected to be used 200 to 220 miles a day. The police already have a gas pump on their property. They’ll add a Level 2 electric vehicle charger, which will take just a few hours overnight.

The cop car will join the 431 electric vehicles already owned by Westporters. 250 are Teslas. That puts us #1 in the state in both categories (per capita).

EV Club president Bruce Becker believes Westport is the first police department on the East Coast with a Tesla.

FUN FACTS:

  • The Model 3 has an extra trunk in the front of the vehicle where an internal combustion engine would usually be. Officers can use it to store emergency equipment that must be kept separate from cargo in the rear trunk.
  • Every Tesla comes straight from the factory with features like front, side and rear-view cameras that a police department would typically install at extra cost. They can also be used in “sentry mode” to monitor the vehicle and vicinity when it’s parked.
  • The Model 3 has a top speed of 162 mph — faster than all other vehicles in the current fleet.
  • Police cars spend lots of time idling. An internal combustion engine must run to power the lights and keep online computers running while not draining the battery. The Tesla will eliminate those tailpipe emissions.
  • This is not the first EV for Westport’s Police Department. In 2007, a Toyota Prius replaced a car that burned 7 to 9 gallons of gas every day. The current Prius is a plug-in hybrid, but operates almost exclusively in electric-only mode for its daily driving needs.

The Police plan an open house in the spring, for the public to see the new car up close.

Though you can see it in action starting next month, if — suspecting a Ford Explorer — you get pulled over by the Tesla instead.

51 responses to “Westport Cops Go Green — Add Tesla To The Fleet

  1. $52000 – what a joke! If fuel economy was the driving force they could have bought a Toyota and saved 10 grand. And what’s with the claim of maintenance savings for the first 3 years? Every car car comes with a three year warranty and if I can also negotiate free oil changes it’s hard to believe that Westport can’t do the same! The $52k should come out of the police pension fund!

    • You seem pretty hung up on the initial purchase price. Maybe reread the parts where the police chief says that they will save more money over the life of the car compared to the initial price difference from what they usually get…. unless you think you know the Police Department’s fuel and maintenance costs better than he does?

      If they bought a $37k Ford Explorer as they usually do, would you also insist that it come out of the police pension fund? what a nonsensical comment.

    • No joke. No maintenance, no engine, no transmission, no volatile fluids, no toxic fluids, no fuel, no oil, no giant pieces of steel on your lap in a wreck, no compromise. You are right, Toyota is better, just re read everything I wrote but remove the word “no” so you can apply it to your car…

  2. One more indication, and there have been many, that
    Westport ‘s chief of police is open minded, progressive and forward looking.
    We should all be thankful for that.

  3. John D McCarthy

    The new Bluesmobile…..”It’s got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.”

  4. “it’s dark out and we’re wearing sunglasses”..lol..The WPD has come a long way from when I walked a beat on Main St. Good for them!!

  5. I’ve been looking into all electric vehicles, but have
    held off getting one as some owners describe problems –
    which may not apply to municipally owned and maintained
    cars. I wish the town luck in this endeavor.
    _______________
    Off topic. I remember when the Westport Police first
    got Oldsmobiles. They would pull up to the Fire dept. by
    the YMCA and proudly burn rubber in those beasts. Sadly,
    I don’t think they were kept too long.

    • I’m curious, what are the problems you’ve heard from owners?

      I’ve had mine (same model as this one) for a little over a year, and haven’t had a single issue with it, I love it and would absolutely get the same one again over any other car.

  6. A Tesla is essentially a luxury item and a novelty; what a wasteful and obnoxious mismanagement of our tax dollars. The benefits are not even remotely this clear cut. Being first at something, even in the guise of being progressive, is not always a positive move.

    • Agree! There are also other electric cars on the market besides Tesla, if being ‘green’ is the issue.

      • Name 3 full electric cars that have the supercharger network that allows unlimited range. I will wait…

        • William Strittmatter

          Why would the Westport PD care about the supercharger network? It’s not like they are taking a cross country trip or even regularly driving through Darien or Milford.

          Given the long lines in CA over Thanksgiving weekend, one might even debate whether it is that much of an advantage for a Tesla as more of their cars are on the road. But, again, irrelevant for the WPD use case.

          https://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-supercharger-station-videos-reveal-ev-obstacle-2019-12

          • Its crazy that some folks waited a significant amount of time in line to get to a charger and then more time to actually charge… I value my time, I think that would drive me nuts. I am on the fence about buying a tesla and the main two things that have been stopping me are 1) having to waste time finding/going to chargers, possibly waiting for a charger to become available, then actually charging, 2) paying to beta test (i.e. for FSD which costs $7k now). I did see Tesla trucked in super chargers to help alleviate congestion but I dont see how that model will work long-term. They are relying on many people charging at their homes overnight which many people cannot do for various reasons (traveling for work, traveling for pleasure, high density living such as apartments/condos where there is no electric source available or cannot get approval for install, those that street park, etc).

            • William Strittmatter

              I would imagine they didn’t have a choice. On a road trip, not enough charge to get home or next charging station so you just wait in line. It’s not like there is another charging station a block away like there are with gas stations.

              You are right though. That’s not an issue for PD or anyone that primarily drives locally.

            • Andrew Warzocha

              If you can’t charge at home, it’s definitely going to be a lifestyle switch that you’d need to be comfortable with. However, for a lot of people either they can charge at home, charge at work or the occasional super charge isn’t that bad. I drove about 10k miles in the first year with our Tesla and I would plug it in before bed on Friday and sometimes Sunday night. I COULD have charged it nightly but opted not to because I hate backing into the garage.

              We took a few road trips and I forced us to stop and charge for about 10 minutes on the supercharger network every 2-3 hours. The car could have gone longer and I could have charged shorter but this was what I needed to do to stretch my legs.

              For those that do like to road trip more often there are a number of non superchargers you can also take advantage of. The app Plug Share lists them out and several town halls and businesses have them handy. Not all of them are ideal but I’ve managed to get 20-30% battery (2-3 hours) going out for dinner or while at an event for free just by using these chargers. We’ve also looked into a few hotels that had them so when we stayed overnight we woke up with a full charge. These are generic chargers so hopefully as electric (not just Tesla) gets more popular, so will these.

              The instance of the long lines is definitely a concern but keep in mind the number of cars on the road is exploding and the technology is getting better. The newer version of their super charger network will cut charge time by 50% and is already starting to roll-out. Older Model S and X owners get unlimited free super charging and rely heavier on this infrastructure than your newer owner or Model 3 owner.

        • Dave, I don’t need to, because it’s an irrelevant discussion point for a town police car.

  7. a few things to think about: 1) teslas historically have plummeted in value due to people worrying about the eventual battery pack replacement cost and build quality issues. perhaps those concerns are tapering off? 2) with cold temperatures, teslas have a “pre-heat” function which takes time to warm the battery to both use the vehicle and charge the vehicle. if the batteries are cold the whole battery capacity cannot be accessed. this may hinder police departments from wide adoption of teslas if they have to wait for them to “pre-heat” before they can hop in and respond to a call… 3) i hope there is consideration being given towards security of the vehicle (i.e. use of pin code) and protecting remote access / monitoring. previous reports of teslas remote unlock being intercepted, cloned, and teslas stolen. 4) i am curious whether the stock batteries are being “tapped into” to run all the police equipment? computers, lights, sirens, idling, etc, can be a significant power drain… if its all being run off the main battery, that can limit the range between charges…i’d also be concerned during a pro-longed power outage that the vehicles cannot be charged unless there are backup power generators (and generators capable of outputting a high amperage) 5) final thought: emissions are created during power generation so electric vehicles are not magically eliminating emissions. i am curious if tesla solar system is also being acquired? ps. i am thinking about getting a tesla myself, mainly for eventual full self driving (FSD), i just think its crazy tesla is charging people to be beta testers.

    • We are confused. 1) all cars depreciate, sky blue water wet…. the battery will be around long after we are.
      2) There is no pre heat as you describe it. The battery management software (BMS) will heat the battery to allow faster charging but that is a deep dive and limits nothing. Weird comment. 3) pretty sure you are referring to Tesla’s in London that have been compromised. No such issue in the US, plus I am pretty sure cops know how to secure their cars. 4) this battery concept you describe Was already figured out years ago and is a proven concept in police applications. 5) CT already requires power producers to use renewable solar and wind. 50% of CT power comes from nuclear power which pollutes (emits) the environment with water…

      • 1) huh? The batteries are slated to last 250-300k miles from what I have read. If the police vehicles are driven 200+ miles per day, that is what 4 years until battery replacement? Of course many variables but I have a feeling battery won’t be treated perfectly with constant charging and drain (many say charging to a Max 80% is ideal and not discharging too low). I sure hope I live at least another 4+ years… 2) there is definitely a preheat function for cold climates … The engines run and warm the coolant that flows through the batteries. The main downfall to cold weather is significantly reduced range (30-40%), poor Regen, and reduced charging rate at supercharger. 3) it definitely is / was a possibility in the USA. Maybe just didn’t make news headlines. I wouldnt assume anything. 4) do we have long term data? Easy to ‘prove’ many things if you really want to. Fact is police vehicles usually have an upgraded alternator and constantly idle to keep electronics working / climate hvac. If vehicle is in use / idling all day, driven for 200+ miles, charging limited to 80%, I have a feeling powering electronics and idling with HVAC running is going to make it very close. 5) cool, I didn’t know, but I was making a general statement, and that is not true for all of USA.

      • PS. I just read that Elon stated to keep SoC between 30% and 70% for longest battery life. That means not charging over 70% and not discharging below 30%. That would limit the model3 being discussed to 124 miles where as the PD plans to use it 200-220 miles per day. Not too mention the additional power draw for electronics and climate / HVAC while idling all day during shift…

        • Andrew Warzocha

          He also tweeted charging to 90-95% would be fine. I think the designer on the batteries has also said 90% would be fine. You really want to avoid topping it off and running it dry on a regular basis. I’ve heard the batteries are supposed to last between 300-500k miles and replacing them is about 5-7k.

          Can’t speak for the additional electronics but keeping the security system on and the HVAC set to 70 degrees used about 1% of my battery or less an hour (at 40 degrees), which I’ve heard is a lot of the security system.

          Winter weather is definitely a concern but I don’t think its impossible. Our first winter was a bit scary on the anxiety side but when you realize what the car can and can’t handle you plan around it.

          • 1500 cycles… divided by 365 (assuming use 7 days a week)… is still about 4 years…. if the whole battery pack needs to be replaced its more than $5-7k. i think he was saying that if a particular module goes bad or is showing more wear one need not pay for an entire pack… so potentially in 4 years time the maintenance cost of a tesla may easily pass the maintenance cost of a car that uses gasoline. its also inaccurate that teslas dont require any maintenance in the first few years. you can see here: https://www.tesla.com/support/car-maintenance

            • Andrew Warzocha

              Your 1500 cycles a day assumes they drive it 300 miles a day. With their estimate of 200 mile a day, the car should last about 6 years before it hit the end of its “expected” battery life.
              This also doesn’t mean the batteries are dead at 465k miles. How many cars live past their manufacturer warranties? If this car lasted to 400k miles, I think the savings would be fairly significant on what they’d expect to have to do for a standard gasoline powered car.

              You are right that its not zero maintenance but looking at the list you linked and then looking at the standard “oil change, transmission change, yada yada” a lot of folks consider it such.

  8. I’m disappointed that the car was probably bought out of state. Why? Because the dealerships have done everything in their power to stop Tesla from setting up a sales building. They only reason is so they can keep the monopoly of a franchise environment intact. The consumer be damned. The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA) has fought tooth and nail to block a Tesla dealership from opening in our state. They claim it would take jobs away. Actually, it would create jobs from managers to sales people to administrators. If you wanted to buy a Tesla, you must go out of state.

  9. I bought my Tesla for $10,000 less. I guess the price has gone up in the 3 intervening months! But I love it, and am so relieved not to have to buy gas. I have had zero problems. I charge it in my basement garage with a regular 110 outlet. Of course I don’t drive it as much as the Police Dept will, but I believe this was a wise choice. Can I charge mine at the faster charger they will have?

  10. How fast? Tesla fast. This might be another reason for the Model 3 purchase:

    My video was taken at a motorsports event held at the Meadowlands this past May. In the rain. The Model 3 walked/ran away from me like nothing I’ve seen. Yes, it has the performance package, but wow was it fast in very wet conditions. My car is a fairly well prepared BMW 1M Coupe. The Tesla in the video was more or less bone stock.

  11. Andrew Warzocha

    It’s great to see towns getting in on the electric hype. I hope this pushes us to a greener tomorrow

  12. I agree! Cops should never be allowed to have the safest car on the market! I think police should have to burn gas and sit idle for several hours. They should have to waste gas just like the rest of us! I mean what’s next, letting cops wear body armor? Nonsense I say!

  13. This is exciting, owning one myself I can attest to the incredible cost savings vs. any other car we ever owned, and the performance especially from a stop is outta this world. A model 3 is an interesting choice as it has smaller interior space and a smaller trunk but I’m sure the extra $30k of a Model S didn’t make fiscal sense at this point. Once people begin experiencing these cars more and seeing their value I’m confident they will pop up more and more throughout industries.

  14. PS. I just read that Elon stated to keep SoC between 30% and 70% for longest battery life. That means not charging over 70% and not discharging below 30%. That would limit the model3 being discussed to 124 miles where as the PD plans to use it 200-220 miles per day. Not too mention the additional power draw for electronics and climate / HVAC while idling all day during shift…

  15. Electric vehicles are the future. That being said, this purchase has more value as a public relations initiative than a real world application. The technical arguments being made here show that there isn’t enough real world data to statistically prove anything yet. Beta testing any technology in the real world always costs more than the currently accepted technology. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

    But what about other technologies that may meet the same goals? In the transportation sector there is a battle brewing between fully electric and fuel cell vehicles. It is easy to see how there could be a place for both, similar to the gasoline vs. diesel arguments. Passenger vehicles vs commercial/work duty vehicles.

    Remember, batteries are made from rare-earth minerals. This will eventually become a limited resource like fossil fuels. While, utilizing power generation sources, such as wind and solar, to generate storable hydrogen through electrolysis, will offer an on-demand energy system with a very strong environmental impact on the upside.

    Electric vehicles are the future. But only a variety of energy resources will meet the world’s needs and goals.

  16. Definitely impressed with the town’s “forward looking” move. Anything humans can do to improve the quality of the air we breathe is a positive! I am also convinced that it will save the town money in the long run. Thank you to Wesport for your leadership!

    • Great to see such forward thinking leaders who are conscious of the environmental, economic and educational impacts this decision has on Westport and the surrounding region. Greta job Foti, WPD, and the selectmans office!

      “Teach your children well” csny

  17. Being a Model 3 owner myself all I can say is this is GREAT news.
    EV is the future and we all should embrace that future.

    No gas engine and oil to change, no transmission and fluid to change, literally no maintenance. With EV it gets better and better.

    • Varis Pujols have you checked the owner’s manual or Tesla’s website? There is certainly maintenance required on the Tesla Model 3. Some annual, some bi-annual, some every few years. I recommend you check and follow it so your vehicle remains safe to drive.

  18. Wow the misunderstanding and uncertainty by some of these comments is disturbing….

    Climate change is real people…..

    Tesla Model 3 is incredible value at 39,900 MSRP and everyone labeling it “luxury” has

    1. never ridden in one
    2. doesn’t spend a second to factor in all the savings you reap with EVs

    Thank you Westport PD for taking initiative to move toward sustainable transportation without sacrificing our environment well-being

  19. The story has been picked up by Electrek.co, one of the biggest electric vehicle news websites: https://electrek.co/2019/12/11/tesla-police-talks-sentry-mode/

  20. This vehicle will save Westport taxpayers money, full stop.

    The PD and Sustainable Westport looked carefully at the numbers and the savings in fuel and maintenance will more than compensate for the extra acquisition cost within 3 years. Think about this one fact: Over the course of a police vehicle’s life, it spends 25,000 to 27,000 idling and burns a gallon of gas per hour. You can do the math. EVs use very little power when idling.

    There may be other benefits, such as the likelihood that the Tesla vehicle will have a longer service life, but that is something we will learn over time. This is a risk-free way to gather data and create tighter estimates going forward.

    There are many incorrect “facts” cited in some of the comments. For example, one commenter asserts that the optimal SoC (state of charge) for the battery will cause a reduction in range. Nonsense. These batteries are buffered and that is built into the range calculation. Another stated that you have to wait for the battery to warm up before you can drive the car. Well, no.

    And, oh yeah, global warming.

    Well done, WPD.

    • Thanks, Barry, for knowing enough (I sure don’t) to counter some of the garbage that has been thrown at the WPD in the comment section of this article.

    • Barry Kresch can you please cite an article that Tesla are programmed with hard coded buffer for battery charging limits (charge maximum and discharge maximum)?

      The battery should not be charged past the 80-90% mark or discharged fully on a regular basis if one wants to maintain optimum battery health/life. That is the case with many types of batteries. There are user settings in the Tesla app to set a maximum battery charge. That wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a good reason for it.

      There is also a battery preheating function. One can hop in and drive off with cold batteries but as another commenter mentioned, that is not good for the battery. Regen won’t work, range will be limited, and fast charge speeds will not happen until the battery warmed up. You can see the battery pre-heat button and icons in the Tesla app. They would not exist if there was no reason.

      • Bob Penderson, re the app allowing the ability to go beyond recommended charging level to full capacity, it is for emergencies or other infrequent occurrences, where more range is needed. If you do it too often, the vehicle will warn you that you risk damaging the battery. The 85 kW battery contains 77.5 kW of usable (unbuffered) capacity per WK057 data.

  21. Very interesting Just today I observed two officers having lunch with two cars outside idling. I thought to myself that it was very ungreen and wasteful but at the same time wondered if they can’t turn it off as a procedure? unsure but would love to know

    >

    • Wow! Wish you’d gone inside and told them to turn off the engine…NO REASON for idle when they are out of the car..NONE.

      • Dan Katz: There are actually reasons for police vehicles idling. Examples include a K9 inside or computer systems that require power and could take time to boot up. Imagine receiving a call and having to wait for a computer to boot to access critical information. If there is not a good reason, then I agree they shouldn’t idle.

      • There are several reasons to leave police cars idling when they are out of the car, …..though I’m sure having lunch isn’t one of them (unless a police Dog was in the car).

        • Other reasons:
          – The vehicle is double-parked or otherwise impeding traffic away from the curb due to a call, at a crime scene and requires the emergency lights to remain on;
          – During a traffic stop;
          – During any police action taking place real-time in which the employee has to momentarily leave the vehicle but plans to be returning quickly – such as a
          response to calls

  22. Dorothy M Hajnal

    I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Westport for adding a Tesla 3 to their fleet of police cruisers; you will love it and so will your beautiful town. Being a “first” shows both foresight and bravery, I commend you for both.

    I have had my 3 for a year and it’s needed nothing but air in the tires and fluid for the windshield. It will need tire rotation soon, but that’s free, and I had a piece of trim replaced, but Tesla sent a tech to my work to fix it. Remarkable company with amazing care and service.
    I live in a condo, with no garage, so my car is out in our Winter weather. I also can’t charge at home, yet, because my HOA doesn’t have a policy, yet. I Supercharge to 80/90% once a week and occasionally use free chargers in my area-there are several at or near businesses and places where I can plug in while I shop or eat. My weekly cost is about $10, it will be lower when I can charge at home. In the morning I turn my car’s climate on from my phone app, for 5-10 minutes, squeegee off any melted snow or ice on the glass and drive away.

    There are Teslas out there that are used as taxis, are routinely charged to 100% multiple times a day and are the first Model 3s to have reached 100,000 miles, a Model S hit 300,000, they are still in service. Did they require maintenance? Of course, but not enough to warrant replacement.
    I waited 3 years for my car, I have no regrets or fears, I wish you all the best with yours. Again, congratulations.

  23. From The Hartford Courant. And yes CARA is still trying to inhibit Connecticut consumers from getting a Tesla product.

    Tesla, barred from selling in Connecticut, leases electric cars at Milford showroom:
    https://www.courant.com/business/hc-biz-tesla-leasing-20191218-gv7nugc5zbbb5ckjnzpicv5rou-story.html

    To my post about How fast? Tesla fast? Tesla is going to be doing another over the air update, pushing 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, for a dual motor Model 3 with a performance package.