Photo: Fremont PD
Aspen Police Department officials want city council funds to buy five Tesla Model Ys to help fight climate change.
Aspen Police Department in Colorado state wants $311,000 in funding for five new electric Tesla Model Ys to replace the current Ford petrol-powered patrol fleet, Aspen Assistant Police Chief Linda Consuegra said on October 8. “We haven’t always had the traditional car police departments have,” she said. “It speaks to the uniqueness of our community as well as our department. It's OK to be different." Electrifying the city's fleet will help meet the Aspen City Council's climate change goals, according to The Aspen Times.
On October 9, Consuegra asked the council to approve the purchase of Tesla Model Y vehicles, which will cost about $52,000 each and require an additional $10,000 for special police equipment, Consuegra said in a note to city councilors. The EVs are to replace five 12-year-old Toyota Highlander plug-in hybrids. Three would be driven by Chief Richard Pryor, Assistant Chief Bill Linn, and Consuegra.
If the council approves the purchase next month, the three bosses will receive a new Tesla. The fourth Model Y will be received by the department’s school resource officer, the fifth will be received by a detective. Though the department would like to replace four patrol vehicles next year with Teslas, none of the five would be designated as a full-time patrol vehicle, she said. Before making them regular patrol cars, departments will first test them. “We want to figure out the kinks,” Consuegra said.
In an effort to make its fleet more carbon-neutral, Aspen PD began to use Toyota Highlander hybrid vehicles in 2008. “Unfortunately, the hybrid vehicles were not able to sustain the needs to run the marked vehicle police package, which caused a connector to continually burn out from the high electrical demands to run all the police equipment,” Consuegra wrote in the memo.
In 2015, the department was forced to buy Ford Police Interceptors, which are based on Ford Explorers, and now are operated by patrol officers. Consuegra said the City of Aspen's Climate Change Office has been pushing police officers for five or six years to keep researching electric vehicles. Now is the time to try them, because Tesla is already being used successfully by other police departments and has shown that they can meet the electricity needs of a standard police car kit.
Boulder County is currently testing a Model Y purchased earlier this year and found that it is cheaper to operate on a per-mile basis than the Ford Police Interceptor Hybrid, according to Consuegra’s memo. The cost per mile of the Tesla was $0.03, while the Ford was $0.15.
“Overall, Boulder County estimates that the Ford Police Interceptor costs them approximately $2,652 more per year to operate than the Tesla, and they expect the initial cost difference between the Tesla and the Interceptor to be made up within 6-18 months due to the significantly lower operating and ownership costs of the Tesla,” Consuegra wrote in the memo.
The city has allocated about $294,000 to replace the five 12-year-old Toyota hybrids, which means about $17,000 more will need to come out of the police department’s general administrative operation budget to cover the cost of the Teslas, the memo states.
“For the five vehicles being replaced with Teslas, the city will reduce tailpipe emission by an estimated 3,000 lbs., Which is the equivalent of what 60 mature trees could absorb in CO2 in a year,” according to Consuegra's memo. “Because of Aspen's 100% renewable electricity supply, using this electricity (for the Teslas) instead of imported fossil fuels represents a substantial environmental benefit.”
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