West Shore RCMP unveiled its first electric police vehicle, a Tesla Model Y, outside the detachment in Langford on Tuesday (Feb. 7).
This is the RCMP’s first EV being used as a police cruiser. Cpl. Nancy Saggar said the West Shore detachment was picked as a pilot location to test and gather data about how the Tesla performs as a police cruiser, to help the RCMP decide how to implement EVs into its fleet nationwide.
“We realize that the Tesla, or electric vehicles, are not going to be suitable for all Canadian environments, including our rural northern communities. However, we have a high rate of electrical vehicles here within Vancouver Island, especially in the Victoria region. So national RCMP and West Shore RCMP decided that this would be the perfect test site for those types of vehicles.”
The Tesla was chosen because it was the car that closest matched the needs for a police cruiser when the West Shore RMCP first requested the vehicle. Since then similar cars have been released, with the detachment also set to get a Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Ford F-150 to test later this year, according to Todd Preston, superintendent in charge of the West Shore RCMP.
The vehicles were retrofitted to include a silent partner (the backseat plexiglass that separates the police officer), computer and radio systems, a gun enclosure, and lights and sirens by RCMP’s national fleet management department.
Saggar said the detachment expects all that extra gear will have some impact on the range of the car but was unsure how much, adding that will be part of the data gathered. The company estimates the range of a civilian version of the car is 531 km.
The detachment estimates there’ll be significant savings from fuel costs. Saggar said the average cruiser uses $11,100 of fuel a year, multiplied by the 23 police vehicles.
The vehicle will be used as a regular patrol vehicle to respond to calls. The detachment requested it last year as part of a move to reduce the RCMP’s carbon footprint and to comply with the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act – the federal legislation which instituted a legally binding process to set five-year national emissions-reduction targets. The goal is for emissions to be 40 to 45 per cent lower by 2030.
“This is a huge learning curve, especially for national fleet management as well as the individual police officers. I kind of compare it to you learning how to drive a vehicle when you’re 16. When I was getting my license, electric vehicles didn’t exist. And so many of the police officers, this is their first time encountering electric vehicles. A lot of us are really learning and so we’re adapting to the new technologies. I think it really represents innovation,” said Saggar.
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