Small Town Police Dept. Goes All-Teslas

smalltown police dept goes allteslas
Small Town Police Dept. Goes All-TeslasUnplugged Performance
  • Fleet managers take note: The small town of South Pasadena, California, estimates it will save $300,000 by converting its entire police fleet to Teslas.

  • Conversion work is under way by Tesla tuner Unplugged Performance.

  • The fleet will consist of 20 vehicles—10 Model Ys and 10 Model 3s.

The gasoline-powered, internal combustion-driven police fleet in South Pasadena, California, was old and getting ready for replacement, so the city voted last September to swap out the whole thing—with Tesla electric cars.

Tesla tuner Unplugged Performance of Hawthorne, California, which designs and sells body kits and other tuner parts for Teslas, and which has raced its own Teslas at Pikes Peak, will make the conversions.


“We’re doing some engineering and new solutions, ballistic paneling, prisoner cells, K9 vehicles, and, of course, all of the communications, lights, storage, and other things you’d expect,” said Unplugged Performance founder and CEO Ben Schaffer. “We’re excited to work hard to usher in a new shift of mentality for police and fleet.”

smalltown police dept goes allteslas
The whole Unplugged Crew, along with South Pasadena Police Sgt. Tony Abdalla at lower right.Unplugged Performance

The city will start out with the purchase of 10 Model Ys, followed by another 10 Model 3s, making it the first police department in the country to go all-EV once the cars are up and running. South Pas, as it’s known locally, will also install nine police-only Level 2 chargers and one high-speed Level 3 charger in the city.

The changeover is being funded by a number of government grants totaling almost a half million dollars. Those sources include the California State Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, Southern California Edison, and the South Pasadena City Council. The police car program is part of the city’s Climate Action Plan, which is tasked with procuring state-of-the-art public safety vehicle technology. The city estimates the all-electric police fleet will save about $300,000 over the lifetime of the cars, compared to a typical gasoline-powered fleet.

“We will be putting our officers in the safest and most effective police vehicles on the market,” South Pasadena City Council Member Michael Cacciotti told City News Service. “In addition to that, we will be investing in technology that will help reduce harmful vehicle emissions to improve air quality for all our residents. This effort will provide a model for other jurisdictions. We can build a 21st century police force, save significant resources, and clean the air at the same time.”

The small Southern California municipality just north of Los Angeles is only 3.42 square miles, making it ideal for an electric car fleet.

“Anyone who has investigated the compelling fleet economics of electric vehicle ownership knows that it’s the right solution to go EV and do it with Tesla,” said Schaffer.

“The cost savings are undeniable and being able to bring Tesla’s entire suite of crash and safety systems to bear on officer safety is an added benefit above and beyond the economics of operating and maintaining this modern EV fleet,” said South Pasadena Police Sgt. Tony Abdalla. “The benefits of sustainable transport and the resulting reduced emissions will help keep our communities healthy for generations to come.”

Would you like to see your local police department convert to an all-electric (or partial-electric) fleet? Please comment below.