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Tesla Police Car Costs More Than Ford, But Operational Costs Lower

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We’re often told that electric vehicles offer far lower operational costs than ICE-powered vehicles, thanks to the fact that they don’t require fuel or as much maintenance. It’s typically much cheaper to charge an electric vehicle than refuel an ICE one, which is great for consumers. But for fleet vehicles that rack up far more miles, something like this Tesla police car makes even more sense.

The Freemont Police Department in California purchased their first Tesla police car, a 2014 Model S sedan, back in 2018 for $61,478.50. The goal was to test the vehicle and see if it was less expensive to operate on an annual basis over a traditional ICE-powered police car, as well as meet the needs of the department.

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Freemont just released their findings from this study after over a year on the road, and they’re quite interesting, to say the least. The Tesla police car wound up saving the department $4,097 in fuel costs, versus the cost of electricity used to charge it, over a gas-powered Ford police pursuit vehicle (PPV), according to the study. The annual cost of maintenance was higher by $1,950, however. Regardless, the total annual operational cost for the Tesla was $2,147 less than the Ford.

Another bonus is the fact that using the Model S police car eliminates 42,198 pounds of C02 from the air annually. And the Model S was in service 27 days less than the Ford, which is a big reduction in downtime. However, there are a couple of drawbacks related to the EV worth mentioning.

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For starters, the Model S, though it was purchased used, cost nearly $21,000 more initially. That means the department would have to wait for a little over five years before it would begin to see a return on its investment. Finally, the Model S doesn’t go as far on a charge – 265 miles versus the Ford’s range of 344 miles on a tank of gas.

Thus, when it comes to police fleets employing electric vehicles, at least for now, they require much higher upfront costs but those can be recouped over time.

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We’ll have more interesting comparisons like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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6 Comments

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  1. It may be fine for urban patrol but not for extended highway patrol. Remember the one that konked out and the bad guy got away?

  2. Instead of Tesla sedans, get the new Ford Mustang Mach-E electric with a lower price. Ford can even apply a police discount for fleet purchases. Since the Mach-E is a crossover it has enough space to carry three suspects in the back plus the needed Police equipment in the trunk. If fast pursuit is needed, get the GT model which will run over 120 MPH easily and still cost less than an equivalent Tesla sedan.

  3. There is no way this comparison was done with the new 2020 Ford Hybrid PIU, the numbers are way out when you factor in that the 2020 & 2021 PIU Hybrid is standard now. The vehicle runs on electricity for everything except when the range and power of an ICE is needed. It’s the best of both worlds. The other issue that the Climate Change advocats forget is that Police vehicles do things a Tesla cant do, nor will it ever do. When a Police Department buys a Tesla and puts into the field it’s done for virtue signalling and usually as a stunt to get local politicians to STFU. The Ford PIU is still the King of the road and that won’t change until Ford makes a fully electric version.

  4. For whatever great things the Tesla S has to offer – ruggedness isn’t one of them….. Especially when out of warranty – and then things get really really pricey to fix – and I’m not even going to address any collisions – lets hope they don’t have one since the costs to repair are out of this world. As a for instance, the gearmotor which ‘presents’ the 4 door handles when you walk up to the car costs $1200 per door, and all 4 of them will strip ($4800 per occurrence) at the first sleeting event.

    I would like to see how much they can use the vehicle in anything more than mild police service, and then see what their ‘unexpected and unplanned for’ maintenance cost is.

    I imagine it is not going to be as bad as my former 2011 Tesla Roadster – electrically it was fine, but just parts of the car wearing out made this the most expensive to repair car I ever owned.

    Hard driving police service? I’d expect having to replace the gearbox a few times a year.

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