The Menlo Park Police Department in San Francisco’s Bay Area took delivery of their three brand new Tesla Model Y police cruisers this week.
The City of Menlo Park approved the purchase in October last year, picking Tesla’s electric SUV for it “size, range and purchase price” against other EVs like the Volvo XC40 Recharge, Ford Mach-E and VW ID.4.
The Model Ys are part of a one year pilot program to test how they perform as patrol vehicles, and are the department’s first electric cruisers.
Eventually, the city hopes to have their entire fleet be electric by 2030.
“We want to lead the charge, we know this is important for us,” Menlo Park Police Chief Dave Norris told KCBS Radio.
Before the Model Ys can be put into service, the cars need to be retrofitted to add police equipment, including ballistic shielding, something that is not required on their gas-powered cruisers.
Police Chief Norris explained this is because officers are trained to stay behind the engine block when involved in a gun fight, something which Tesla’s obviously do not have.
“We need to bring these vehicles and get them ballistic shielding so that there’s a level of protection that we know that we can tactically get behind that vehicle in a certain way,” he said.
Menlo Park joins the City of Fremont, located just across the Bay, which added a Model Y to their police fleet last year after a successful pilot program with a 2014 Model S.