The City of Nitro, near Charleston, bought the Tesla Model 3 for about $40,000 — a little more than its other cruisers cost — and then spent another $10,000 to outfit it with lights, sirens and other equipment a police car needs, CNN affiliate WCHS reported.
In a post on Facebook, the department said it decided to buy the Tesla after doing a lot of research, having discussions with Tesla and talking with an Indiana police department that has five Model 3s in its fleet and plans to buy more.
“We believe time will show that through the fuel savings, maintenance cost and resale value, that this car will be cost-neutral to the citizens of Nitro,” Mayor Dave Casebolt told WCHS.
He told WCHS the car can go 500 miles on $18 worth of electricity, while their other police cruisers need about $90 in fuel to cover the same distance.
“The savings, we figure, will be in the neighborhood of $5,000 a year per vehicle,” Police Chief Chris Fleming told WCHS.
The Nitro Police Department has installed a Tesla charging station outside the building and department policy is to keep the vehicle charged to at least 50% at all times, so it’s always ready to patrol.
The city has also purchased two other patrol cars this year, according to its Facebook post — Ford Interceptor Hybrid and a regular Ford Interceptor.
It plans to compare the three vehicles for a year and decide which one provides the best cost benefit.