San Francisco Tesla Police Cruiser Battery Runs Low During High-Speed Chase

The popularly used adage we know as Murphy’s Law tells us anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This tenet reminds us of the variability of events, outcomes, and possibilities, regardless of their scale or importance in our collective existence. It’s helped us also take necessary precautions to better help in avoiding more predictable goings wrong.

In the case of the Fremont Police Department in San Francisco Bay Area, this oops could’ve been easily avoided, though the outcome was certainly far from dire. The department reported that it was six months into a pilot program integrating Tesla vehicles into its patrol fleet. Everyone knows that Teslas are electric and need to be charged, and one of the main reasons to integrate these vehicles into a patrol fleet is for their operational sustainability. With 12 million trucks, rail cars, locomotives, and other vessels moving goods all over the nation, several industries are making attempts to lessen their carbon footprint. A noble cause that comes with some getting used to.

Between 1962 and 1968, when Carroll Shelby built 654 small-block and 350 big-block Cobras, it’s safe to say he wasn’t thinking of too much more than speed and power. Elon Musk, however, built the Tesla to adapt to modern technology and environmental standards. The electric car needs to be charged. Who would’ve thought.

An officer at the Fremont Police Department learned this the hard way at an inopportune moment. While in the midst of a high-speed chase, he noticed that his Tesla police cruiser battery was probably going to die. Nothing like your car running out of juice while pursuing a suspect going 120 MPH.

“I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla so I may lose it here in a sec. If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?” the officer said over the radio.

Not ideal, but modern problems require modern solutions. The speeding suspect crashed into some bushes shortly thereafter and fled on foot in the San Jose area, later to be apprehended. The immediate drama and hyperbole surrounding the event were that the vehicle battery died, which it did not.

“We think it started the pursuit with about 50 miles left on the charge, but when cars accelerate at speeds such as the situation, going over 110 miles per hour, the car charge starts to drain down faster. This situation, while embarrassing, is no different from cases where a patrol car runs low (or even dry) of fuel,” said Geneva Bosques, spokesperson for the Fremont Police Department.

As the trucking industry moves 71.5% of the nation’s freight and they make the switch to more sustainable modes of transport, we don’t hear much dramatic news. A police department naturally receives more attention, both positive and negative. So, because it was a Tesla, a new program, and law enforcement, media was quick to make humorously critical jumps beyond the reality of a situation not nearly as major as exaggeration would have us believe. The department was the first in the country to adopt Teslas into its fleet, aiming to cut department greenhouse emissions by 25% by 2020. With most American commuters wasting 42 hours and some $1,400 in gas sitting in traffic every year, turning to electricity is a step in the right direction. Thus far, barring this most recent piece of media sensationalism, the program has successfully provided for the needs of the department and the environment.

Still, we’re willing to bet they’ll be a little more vigilant about plugging those electro cruisers in before enforcing the law at high speeds.

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