The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado announced on Monday the purchase of a Tesla Model Y as a patrol vehicle.
As part of the announcement, the county provided a detailed cost breakdown to combat the inevitable criticism from citizens that the purchase is extravagant and the money could be better used elsewhere.
The county typically purchases Ford Police Interceptor (PI) Utility vehicles. According to the county’s estimates, the low fuel and maintenance costs of the Model Y will pay off the extra price difference between the two vehicles in anywhere between 6-18 months.
They also estimate it will last a lot longer than the average life of just 5 years for a patrol vehicle.
Their data showed that the Ford PI fuel and maintenance costs add up to about $0.187 per mile driven. That is nearly 7 times higher than the Model Y, which they estimate will cost just $0.029 per mile to operate.
Add it all up and it works out to a savings of nearly $20,000 over the typical 5 year/105,000 mile lifespan of their patrol cars. The actual savings will be much more than that as they also estimate it will last much longer than five years.
“While the initial cost of a Tesla is higher than the Ford PI SUV, research and anecdotal evidence shows that the initial cost difference is made up within 6-18 months due to the significantly lower operating and ownership costs of the Tesla. Due to the simplicity of design and lack of moving parts, the Tesla is also expected to have a much longer service life than its internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts.”
They also provided another breakdown to show the Model Y is more than comparable to the Ford PI SUVs in areas key to police use.
Once in service, the Model Y will primarily be used for traffic enforcement, but the sheriff’s office said they will vigorously test it in a number of other roles to test it for other roles within the police department.
EVs from other manufacturers were considered, but were ultimately ruled out due to higher costs, limited availability, and specifications that didn’t meet their needs.