South Pasadena California Police To Drive Only Teslas

What could possibly go wrong?

At the tip of the EV adoption spear in the United States has been California, which really should surprise nobody. Depending on your views, that’s either an enviable and revered position for the state or the butt of many jokes. But the news that South Pasadena Police Department will be switching to only Teslas in the near future is blindsiding a lot of people.

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The announcement was made by Unplugged Performance, which says it’s “the global leader of Tesla performance upgrades.” It’s handling the upfits to SPPD’s Tesla Model Y and Model 3 patrol cars, all 20 of them, which are slated to replace the ICE patrol vehicles later this year.


While we’ve seen some Teslas and a few other EVs added to police departments here and there, South Pasadena is the first to go all-electric for the entire fleet. Surely others will follow suit, although how many and how soon remains to be seen.

If 20 years ago a small police department in California were to switch to all Mercedes E-Class and ML-Class vehicles, the outcry about wasteful spending would’ve been epic. After all, why do police need luxury vehicles? Most Model Y and Model 3 configurations arguably qualify as luxury cars, yet this is being applauded as a wise fiscal move by the city.

“The leadership shown by the South Pasadena City Council and the South Pasadena Police Department is historic. 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, however stepping up and taking the leap for the full department requires leadership and commitment from the Mayor, the City Council and the entire department,” commented Ben Schaffer, CEO of Unplugged Performance.

We’re genuinely curious what upfits/upgrades are being added to the Teslas. Perhaps once they’re ready for duty SPPD will give an online walkaround with Unplugged Performance. Before pointing out what might go wrong with this move, it would be good to learn more about this plan, especially how much each EV with all the trimmings is setting the city back.

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