Nova Scotia

Bridgewater spends $72K for Tesla police cruiser

Bridgewater town council has approved the purchase of a Tesla Model 3 for its police service. Mayor David Mitchell says starting this spring the force will be the first in Atlantic Canada to use an electric vehicle as part of its fleet of patrol vehicles.

Mayor says higher purchase price will be offset by up to $25K in savings

Bridgewater town council has approved the purchase of a Tesla 3 for its police service. (Town of Bridgewater)

Police officers in Bridgewater, N.S., may soon be the first in the Atlantic region to patrol in an electric vehicle.

Town council voted Monday to purchase a $72,207 Tesla Model 3 for its police service. The vehicle was ordered Tuesday and should be delivered in April.

Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell said the purchase price is higher than that of a conventional cruiser. But he said the town expects savings in fuel and maintenance costs over the five-year life of the vehicle, which is two years longer than the gas-powered cruisers in its fleet.

"Yes the initial cost is about $10,000 more than the vehicle we would normally buy, but there is a net savings," said Mitchell. "Over the life of this car it will save the taxpayers money, so the business case was solid and we decided to get one and try it out this year."

Based on conversations with forces already using electric vehicles in Ottawa and Toronto, Mitchell said Bridgewater could save between $15,000 and $25,000 in making the switch.

Although it will be the only battery-powered vehicle in the fleet, Mitchell said it wouldn't just be for show.

A working vehicle, not a show piece

"Definitely not a show piece," he said. "It's going to be a working car so it will have some patrol functionality.

"Our school liaison officer will use it. Other specialized teams within the police department will use it."

According to a report prepared by town staff, the Tesla Model 3 has a range of 576 kilometres per charge. That should be more than enough power to keep the vehicle on the road through two shifts.

Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell told CBC News although the purchase price is higher than that of a conventional cruiser, the town expected savings in fuel and maintenance costs. (Town of Bridgewater)

Mitchell said a typical shift involves about 150 kilometres of driving.

"So even in the cold weather, we were not concerned at all about the range during that 24-hour period," he said.

Mitchell said his 15-year-old daughter also suggested the vehicle could make it easier for officers assigned to schools.

"You have a school liaison officer rolling up to a high school in a Tesla, the kids are going to come out to him or her," said Mitchell. "They're going to have questions. They're going to want to see the car. They're going to want to talk about it.

"So you're already building that relationship with young people and I think if you want to talk about dollars … to me that's almost priceless." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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