Westport Police Tesla Model 3 Squad Car Saves Money, Improves Performance, Delivers Promised Environmental Benefits

The Town has received a report generated by the EV Club of CT providing a financial analysis of the Westport Police Department’s Tesla Model 3.  In December 2019, the Westport Police purchased a Tesla Model 3, fully customized it for law enforcement, and put it into service in February 2020 as a pilot program. This first-in-the-nation Tesla Model 3 squad car is being celebrated for exceeding performance, cost savings and environmental benefits estimates.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas said, “What initially attracted us to the Tesla was how it compared to our traditional fleet vehicles in terms of performance, 5-star crash ratings, and collision avoidance technology. While the Police Department has been using plug-in hybrids for parking enforcement for several years now, this was the first fully electric car to be used in active duty. We needed to confirm our estimates on things like mileage per charge and how the vehicle would stand up overall in the challenging environment of police work. And of course, we were tracking expenses. The purchase price of the Tesla was higher than the Ford Explorer, but we hypothesized that we’d recoup that expense in lower fueling and maintenance costs for the Tesla.”

According to First Selectman Jim Marpe, “Westport is leading the way with electric vehicles and charging stations.  Our town government is also leading on the municipal front.  The decisions to invest in electric vehicles and infrastructure are strategic, data-driven, and smart. I applaud our forward-looking police department and the partnership of the department and the EV club. This is part of how Westport will meet its commitment to being net-zero by 2050.”

Charles Sampson of the Westport Police, who managed this project stated, “Feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve have been contacted by at least 50 other police departments – from all over the world – with questions about our experience. I know many of them have gone on to purchase Teslas for their fleets.”

Barry Kresch, President of the EV Club of CT said, “I offered to do this analysis for the police because it is a such a visible and tangible proof point that EVs can be cost-effective, and that the decision by the Westport Police to move forward with the Tesla Model 3 pilot was financially, as well as environmentally, sound. The presentation I built for them visually demonstrates the economic case for using EVs in public sector fleets."

Westport Police Tesla Model 3 Financial Analysis

The Westport Police purchased a Tesla Model 3 in December 2019, fully customized it for law enforcement, and put it into service in February 2020 as a pilot program. This first-in-the-nation Tesla Model 3 squad car is being celebrated at its one-year anniversary for exceeding performance, cost savings and environmental benefits estimates.

Westport Police Tesla Model 3 Police Cruiser both recoups the purchase price premium and saves money in the first year.

  • After four years the Tesla will have saved enough money to buy another Tesla.
  • Each EV avoids emission of over 23 tons of CO2 per year and saves $8763 in environmental and health costs.
  • There is a $12,582 savings in fuel alone after four years from using electricity to power the vehicle.
  • Reduced maintenance. Regenerative braking means that the engine slows the car and recaptures some of the kinetic energy, replenishing the battery and reducing wear on the friction brakes. It is one example of how an EV saves on maintenance. Other examples are no oil changes, spark plugs, transmission, alternator, water pump, or catalytic converter.
  • Even during the winter months, the vehicle was able to consistently run two consecutive patrol shifts without needing to be recharged, and there were no operational issues related to charging and battery use.

There was a $15,300 differential in the purchase price of the Tesla vs. a Ford Explorer, which has been the workhorse of the fleet. The purchase price differential was recouped in the first year due to reduced customization and lower operating costs. All of these have been analyzed in detail.

Westport PD is exploring purchasing another Model 3, and while it would not receive first mover discounts that benefited the pilot vehicle, it’s still projected to recoup the price premium in year one due to much lower customization, maintenance, and fueling costs.

The cost of buying, customizing, and one year of ownership of the pilot Tesla was $68,700 and is projected to be $85,100 for a future Tesla Model 3. This compares to $86,300 for the Ford. Due to the customization discounts, this was a no-lose situation for the pilot vehicle. But the financial case remains strong even for a future Tesla.

Learn more here.

By year four, given the lower cost of running an EV, 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.

Learn more here.

None of these figures considers the projected differential in service life. The Ford has a documented service life of four years according to the Westport Police. Based on the first year of operations, the Tesla is expected to have a service life of six years. If we amortize the fixed costs (purchase and customization) of the vehicles, the savings are considerably greater.

After four years, the savings on a cash basis for the Tesla Pilot are $41,000 and $24,000 for a future Tesla.

For more information, please refer to this blog post.



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