A Tesla Model S patrol car owned by the Fremont Police Department as part of a test program was running low on juice during a recent high-speed pursuit of a suspect vehicle with a felony warrant attached to it. And the story doesn't bode well for such pilot programs to outfit police departments with electric vehicles.
As the East Bay Times reports, police dispatch recordings from Friday night reveal that an officer took the department's 2014 Tesla out on the pursuit of a "felony vehicle," only to find that he was down to six miles remaining on the Tesla's battery.
"If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?" the officer can be heard asking, referring to his position in the chase. "I’ve got to try to find a charging station for the Tesla so I can make it back to the city."
The chase extended south on 680 to Milpitas at a rate of 120 miles per hour, as NBC Bay Area explains, and it was ultimately abandoned when the driver of the suspect vehicle drove onto the shoulder of the freeway. The vehicle was later found by CHP officers crashed into some bushes near where the chase was abandoned, and the suspect has not been found.
As Fremont police spokesperson Geneva Bosques explains, the officer in the Tesla was working a swing shift, and took the car out despite the fact that it had not been charged since the previous shift. The car typically has 40 to 50 percent of its charge remaining after a shift, she says.
Per the East Bay Times, after Fremont made national headlines with the purchase of the used Tesla (Fremont is, after all, the location of Tesla's main manufacturing plant), the story is likely to figure in future monitoring reports about the Tesla program. Earlier in the summer, Fremont Police Capt. Sean Washington told the paper "so far so good" regarding the Tesla's performance, noting that it typically made it through 11-hour shifts without any problem and with battery life to spare.