Tesla Model 3 ‘fuel’ and maintenance savings revealed by police department

(Photo: Tom Maccabe/TheIndyChannel)

The decision to use a Tesla Model 3 as an official patrol vehicle for Bargersville Police Department in Indiana has proven to be a financial boon over the last 13 months it’s been in use. In a matchup against a Dodge Charger in their inventory, the all-electric sedan cost $6755 less in “fuel” and maintenance from August 2019 to August 2020. The Model 3’s performance and reliability overall has also been positive, and another Tesla may be added to the fleet next year as a result.

Todd Bertram, an officer with the Bargersville PD who has publicly discussed the department’s decision to purchase the Model 3 in recent months, posted the comparison data on his official Twitter account this week. As shown, the Dodge Charger ended up with maintenance and gas costs of $7580 while the Model 3 maintenance and electricity costs totaled $825 for the same time period. Bertram also provided additional information in response to questions from other Twitter users.

“I actually thought it would be better but the gas prices went down and that affected the savings total,” Bertram replied after being asked whether the final Model 3 numbers met his expectations. He also indicated that he anticipated the same value from a Model Y, so much so that the Bargersville PD would be looking at purchasing one in 2021. For clarification, the maintenance costs in the vehicle savings chart were reportedly tires, a water pump, headlights, fuel pumps, and oil changes.

The savings from the Model 3 will help the Bargersville PD expand its forces. “I need to hire a couple guys at least in the next couple years, so the goal was to have a few Teslas that would reduce the amount of use in the budget so we could put that back in and pay for their salaries,” Bertram said in a prior interview. The Model 3 is expected to save Bargersville $21,000 over six years, canceling out the additional $14,500 it costs to purchase compared to a Charger. Other considerations for switching out one of the department’s four Dodge Chargers for an electric car included its lack of noise given the stealth requirements of some of the officers’ duties along with its instant torque for similar reasons.

Bargersville is just one of a growing number of police departments adding Teslas to their fleets in recent years. A Tesla Model 3 has been patrolling the streets of Westport, Connecticut since January 2020, and the Thailand National Police Agency recently added seven Tesla Model 3 Performances to their lineup. Not to be left behind, the Cybertruck has been gaining attention for its potential future as a police vehicle as well. Last December, the mayor of Ciudad Valles, a municipality in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, announced that he has reserved 15 units of the all-electric pickup as they’re expected to be tough, capable, and very affordable to maintain and run.

Tesla Model 3 ‘fuel’ and maintenance savings revealed by police department
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