The Westport, Connecticut, police department has reported a significant cost savings with the operation of a Tesla Model 3. Since purchasing it in late 2019, it saved enough in refueling and maintenance costs that it will soon be able to afford another one.
The EV Club of Connecticut estimates that the police department saved $12,582 in fuel alone when compared to the costs of operating a Ford Explorer. It called the latter the “workhorse of the fleet” in a report that compared the purchase price and operating costs of both. The report said that, while the purchase price of Westport’s current Tesla Model 3 and a future one would be more expensive than the Explorer, the lower operating costs would make it less expensive in the long run. It gave purchase price figures of $52,300 for two Tesla Model 3 vehicles customized for use by a typical police department and $37,000 for two Ford Explorers.
Westport’s first Tesla Model 3 cost $14,300. According to information on Tesla’s website, the base price for a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus is currently $39,900. It’s possible that Westport’s police department could get a discount, though, since the EV Club of Connecticut gave a price of $30,700 for the future model.
A purely electric vehicle eliminates some maintenance needs like oil changes. The EV Club estimates that, over the course of four years of ownership, “the total cost of ownership price tag of the Tesla pilot is projected to be $79,400, a future Tesla is $95,800, and the Ford is $120,200.”
Westport town operations director Sara Harris says that the police department could buy the new Tesla as soon as this fall. He says that Westport may be the first city on the United States’ east coast to obtain a Tesla vehicle for its police department’s patrol fleet.
Westport’s police department also has an electric BMW i3 that was donated to the police force, though it isn’t used for patrol, and two Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles. The city’s Public Works Department leases two Chevrolet Bolts. The use of electric vehicles and hybrids are part of its efforts to become a net zero community by 2050 by eliminating the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and waste creation, as well as improving water quality.
EV Club of Connecticut aims to promote the use of electric vehicles in the state. The club’s president, Barry Kresch, said in a statement announcing the report on the cost savings of operating a Tesla Model 3, “We wanted to come up with a good objective data set. … Certainly what I would like to do is follow up with them after year two” of operating Westport’s first Tesla vehicle.
If you’re driving through Connecticut, keep your eyes peeled for a Tesla Model 3 with police markings. Considering the attractive cost savings of electric vehicles, more communities in the state and possibly nationwide may consider the Tesla Model 3 when considering new patrol vehicles for their police departments.