Tesla 3 Cop Car Earns Kudos

There were snickers in 2019, when the town announced it was buying a Tesla Model 3 for the Police Department.

You can stop laughing.

The vehicle — put in service in February 2020 — is being celebrated for “exceeding performance, cost savings and environmental benefits estimates.”

That’s not just hopeful hype. It’s the verdict of a study by the EV Club of CT.

The Westport Police Department’s Tesla 3.

The report says the Model 3 police cruiser recoups the purchase price premium, and saves money — even in the first year.

It adds:

• After 4 years the Tesla will have saved enough money to buy another one.
• Each EV avoids emission of over 23 tons of CO2 per year, and saves $8763 in
environmental and health costs.
• There is a $12,582 savings in fuel alone after 4 years, from using electricity to
power the vehicle.
• Reduced maintenance comes from regenerative braking (the engine slows the
car and recaptures some of the kinetic energy, replenishing the battery and
reducing wear on the friction brakes), as well as no spark plugs, transmission,
alternator, water pump, or catalytic converter. The Tesla does not require oil changes.
• Even during the winter months, the Tesla ran 2 patrol shifts without needing to be recharged. There were no issues related to charging and battery use.

The EV Club reports that there was a $15,300 differential in the purchase price of the Tesla versus a Ford Explorer, previously the the “workhorse of the fleet.” That was recouped in the first year due to reduced customization and lower operating costs.

Though Police Department would not receive the discounts applied to the initial vehicle, a second Tesla is still projected to recoup the price premium in one year due to lower customization, maintenance, and fuel costs.

For a full financial analysis, click here.

According to the EV Club’s report, there are non-financial benefits too.
“The car’s catlike alacrity enables an officer to quickly overtake a moving suspect’s vehicle, which reduces the risk to the driver (and) officer, as well as other vehicles and pedestrians.”

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says:

What initially attracted us to the Tesla was how it compared to our traditional fleet vehicles in terms of performance, 5-star crash ratings, and collision avoidance technology.

While the Police Department has been using plug-in hybrids for parking enforcement for several years, this was the first fully electric car to be used in active duty. We needed to confirm our estimates on things like mileage per charge and how the vehicle would stand up overall in the challenging environment of police work.

And of course, we were tracking expenses. The purchase price of the Tesla was higher than the Ford Explorer, but we hypothesized that we’d recoup that expense in lower fueling and maintenance costs for the Tesla.”

Charles Sampson of the WPD managed this project. He adds, “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.”

The Tesla 3 takes to the road.


6 responses to “Tesla 3 Cop Car Earns Kudos

  1. One more feather in the cap of our forward looking, open minded police chief. How different would be the national attitude toward those blue uniforms if all towns had a Foti Koskinas!

  2. Paul Lenihan

    Looks like the EV Market is safe and sound and Westport is participating. Well done. I am concerned about news of lithium mining and the damage to the environment as well as the information, or lack there of on what is done woth used batteries. If anyone knows these topics I’d appreciate more info.

    • Harris Falk

      After a certain amount of use (somewhere above the hundred thousand miles range) the batteries aren’t able to hold enough charge to power a vehicle.
      They are still good, just not good enough to handle the burst needs of a car.
      Still fine for the marathon, but their sprinting days are done.
      The batteries are then repurposed for energy storage systems, where they can last for another decade.
      After that, the batteries will be recycled.
      It’s a little dicey there right now.
      The good news is that because of electric vehicles recycling batteries has actually become a thing. In the past, old lithium batteries from things like phones and laptops (when people would actually actually send them to the correct place and not just send them to the landfill) would just be melted down. Now, actual recycling of lithium batteries is becoming a viable industry. The batteries are basically discharged, shredded, and placed in a bath that separates them back into the component elements, so they can be made into batteries again.
      The dicey part is the newness of the industry. Infrastructure needs to be built. Approvals. Supply chain. Training. The usual growing pains.

    • Brian Faucher

      Harris did a good job explaining battery recycling/reuse, but didn’t address the mining aspects of your question, so here goes my attempt:

      Yes, there is a significant amount of metals that needs to be mined for EV batteries, but battery manufacturers and car companies are continually doing research to decrease the amount of certain metals, as well as monitor and improve the source of the metals. Cobalt in particular, which is used in all batteries, is mined predominantly in central Africa, with questionable health and labor practices (child labor). Here’s an article about Tesla working to develop batteries that use no cobalt at all:

      Lithium, despite being part of the name of rechargeable batteries, is a fairly small amount of the actual battery (about 25lb. in a 1000lb battery). It can be mined, but can also be obtained from seawater evaporation ponds, no mining required.

      general info about batteries and comparative emissions/pollution to gas cars:

      If you or anyone is interested in further research/Googling, I would caution to look at the sources of information you are reading, there are many groups that are funded by oil/gas companies with things like “Freedom” or “energy” in their name, that put out misleading and completely incorrect or horribly outdated statistics that make electric cars and wind/solar power look bad.

      Lastly, i’ll say this regarding mining for battery materials vs oil/gas:
      both are bad for the environment in various aspects and varying extents, but only one can be reused so that less needs to be mined/dug/drilled in the future.

  3. David Wunsch

    As the former owner of a Ford Explorer and I can say the dept. made the right choice.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS, Chief Foti, on a brilliant decision! I feel very proud of our Westport Police Department Perhaps you can consider acquiring the Tesla 3 Performance model to catch up to the Porsches. The Tesla Performance 3 series goes 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds. My ardent wish is that all the residents of Westport would care as much as you to save the environment for our future generations from the negative effects of burning fossil fuels by purchasing or leasing a fully electric vehicle. The air was so much clearer throughout the world a year ago when a lot of people were staying inside their homes and not driving. Regarding Lithium mining, yes, it is a destructive activity for all concerned. However, how destructive is oil drilling, refining and burning? Not to mention that we all have been doing this for the past 120 years or so, and now suffering the dire consequences of global warming. I understand that there is some development in Germany and Europe of solid state batteries and non-lithium batteries that may take 5-7 years more to fully develop. We can all start now by switching at least one of our vehicles to fully electric, and save our children and our children’s children from bearing the horrific consequences of our inability to change and adapt fast enough to the real needs of our times. Thank-you, Chief Foti, and all involved for being so thoughtful and caring.