ElectraGirl: Is it Time for the Police to Drive Electric?

Saturday 18th July 2015

I think Police Departments should have at least two Electric Cars in their fleet.

This past week as I was driving through a nearby town I could hear music coming from one of the streets that was off the main road that I was on. As I got closer to the junction I saw it was a marching band being led by a police vehicle with its light flashing. Now, while I am all in favour of the police escorting marching bands and keeping the road ahead clear for them, I am not in favour of the pollution that is coming out of the police vehicle directly at the children in the marching band. All I could think was those poor children sucking into their lungs all that pollution.

Now what a difference it would make to everyone, but most importantly the children, if they were being led by an Electric Police Car. No pollution and also, so quiet.

Electric Police Vehicles would also work well when the police are on traffic duty and have to have their vehicles turned on all the time. Currently, they just sit there idling away, polluting and wasting so much money. An Electric Car would be so perfect here and make so much sense. Now I am not a big fan of plug in hybrids but I could see where they would fit in for the police to use. I’d probably be okay with them using a plug in hybrid – at least when they are on traffic duty they could be using electricity and then have the back up of a petrol engine if they were called out to an emergency and needed more range.

There are many trials going on around the world with Electric Cars in the police force, some of those are:

Seatle Nissan Leaf Police Cars

Seatle Nissan Leaf Police Fleet

UK West Midlands Police Leaf

UK West Midlands

The West Midlands Police in the UK have 30 Electric Vehicles on lease for 3 years and will be using them for going to appointments but not for responding to emergencies. I think this is good that at least they will be reducing their emissions quite significantly and as the range of Electric Vehicles increases we should see them being used for responding to emergencies as well.
In Scotland the police there have taken on a Mitsubishi i-MiEV and if all goes well with their pilot trials they hope to add more electrics to their fleet.
In Sussex and Surry UK, they have taken on 2 Nissan LEAF’s and a Nissan e-NV200 van. These will be used for local officers to use on local inquires but will not be used for responding to emergencies.
Seattle in the US are using Nisan LEAFs for traffic enforcement.

The Italian police have 4 BMW i3’s and 6 BMW C evolution Scooters that they are using for the EXPO 2015 – I hope they see how useful they are for the EXPO and then go on to use them in the police force afterwards.

Italian Police i3 and C3

We just need to get more to make the move to electric and hopefully that will happen as these trials progress.

Then on another day this past week I was following a postal delivery van and thinking that they should be electric as well. They are such noisy little vehicles and produce an awful smell. It would be perfect for the Post Office to make their fleet of delivery vehicles into electric. Each town has their own vehicles and each vehicle has its own route within that town. As they are never driving fast, they would easily be able to complete their days deliveries on a single charge. It would be so nice not to hear their putter, putter noise each day.

I’m glad to see UPS and FedEx have some Electric Vehicles in their fleet and it looks like their numbers will be continuing to grow.


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  • Martin Winlow

    Speaking as one a/ very interested in EVs (I own 5 of them, well 4.5, anyway), b/ running a small EV-related business (EVBitz.uk) and c/ having had nearly 30 years of ‘thorough inside knowledge’ of one the UKs main police services, I am in a very good position to say you are absolutely right! Blindingly obvious, in fact. Many of the roles that police vehicles are routinely put to are thoroughly consistent with being performed by EVs (and I do not mean hybrids, here, either).

    If you look at the day-to-day, town and city-based mileages of even response (i.e. ‘999’) vehicles between shifts they rarely do more than 50 miles. On the occasions when they do longer journeys, they are almost always non-emergency ones such as prisoner transport etc. Given adequate rapid-charging facilities (i.e. less than 30 minutes for a near-full charge) such vehicles could quite easily be charged between shifts in the hour or so such activities take.

    Sure, there would always be a need for vehicles with greater range, especially traffic-based vehicles such as are used on our trunk roads and motorways but even those may be suitable for EVs within a very few years.

    As well as cutting police fuel bills (which, as you might imagine, are colossal) the quietness of operation and rapid acceleration of EVs are additional +’s for EV adoption in a policing context. Unfortunately, getting the dinosaurs that run most police services in the UK to recognise all this – let alone even begin to implement it – will be a very long slog and one which I shall be happy to leave to someone else!

  • That’s cool. I always think it’d be funny to see a cop pull up in a Leaf or an i3. I actually made a short film in which the police happen to drive a leaf just because I’ve always wanted to see one.