Sunday Funnies: Tesla Police Car Runs Out of Battery During High Speed Chase

A Tesla Model S, purchased used for $61,000 by Fremont, California ran out of juice last week while in a high speed chase and had to abandon the persuit to find a charging station. The suspect was not apprehended.

According to ExtremeTech:

Here’s what happened: Sept. 20, the Tesla was on patrol. It began pursuit of what police described as a “felony vehicle,” a Toyota Avalon, on Interstate 680 South in Fremont. The chased reached peak speeds of 120 mph. Several minutes into the chase, officer Jess Hartman noticed the Tesla was low on power. He radioed the dispatcher and said, “I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla so I may lose it here in a sec.” Moments later, he added, “If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?”

Shortly after Hartman reported his low-battery condition, traffic began to clog up and the driver of the pursued vehicle took to the breakdown lane. That led the Tesla to break off the chase and exit the highway in San Jose. Hartman radioed, “I’ve got to try to find a charging station for the Tesla so I can make it back to the city.” That he did, took on some more juice, and drove back to headquarters.

The pursued car was later found crashed in bushes and abandoned. The driver apparently fled on foot. He was wanted on a felony warrant from Santa Clara, police said.

No matter what an EV’s stated range is, running at high speed causes a huge hit on the battery.

It’s interesting to note that spending $61,000, plus an additional $20,000 to prepare the car for police duty, brought the total cost of the car to $81,000. In contrast, a brand new Dodge Charger Pursuit squad car costs only $32,325, meaning the Fremont police department could have 2.5 squad cars for the same price as the Tesla they bought.

Furthermore, a gas-powered car can be completely refueled in about 5 minutes, 10 if the officer decides to buy a snack in the gas station, whereas a Tesla would take 10 hours to fully recharge. This long recharge time severely limits the utility of the Tesla relative to a traditional internal combustion engine automobile.

Even the most environmentally conscious people should be able to admit that spending 2.5 times as much on an electric squad car that isn’t as useful as a traditional car makes no practical sense, but this type of poor decision making is increasing. Unfortunately, as state and local governments prioritize global issues, like carbon dioxide emissions, over the local issues like law enforcement, they end up spending more taxpayer money while returning a lower value to the community.

Purchasing electric vehicles for police patrol makes even less sense in Minnesota because EVs lose about 40 percent of their range when the thermometer dips below 20 degrees above zero, which is a substantial portion of the year in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.