Tesla Vehicle Modified for Fremont Police Nearly Runs Out of Juice During Car Chase

A Fremont California police officer had to radio in an assist when the battery on his Tesla patrol car started to run out of juice during a high-speed car chase.
Donna Fuscaldo
Fremont Police Tesla Patrol CarFremont Police

The Fremont, California police department may have received accolades in the past for including a Tesla Model S in its lineup of patrol cars. 

But when it came to using the vehicle in a high-speed car chase this week, it failed to deliver.


Tesla vehicle was involved in 120-MPH car chase 

No fault of Tesla. The police officer operating the vehicle during the chase, which hit peak speeds of 120 miles per hour, noticed the battery was running out of power, reported the Mercury News. That prompted him to radio the dispatcher to request coverage, warning he may not be able to continue the chase. 

“I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla so I may lose it here in a sec,” Officer Jesse Hartman said, according to the report and video of the call. “If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?"

Before another police officer could take the lead, the eight-minute chase was called off as the cars headed into traffic. Before the officer returned to the precinct, he made a stop to charge up the Tesla Model 3. 

Geneva Bosques, a Fremont police department spokeswoman told the Mercury News the officer on the previous shift forgot to charge the vehicle so the battery level was lower than usual. She didn't provide more details about the incident. 

In a subsequent statement after the incident received widespread coverage Captain Sean Washington of the Fremont Police Department said: “so far, the vehicle is performing extremely well, and has exceeded our expectations. We are already in initial conversations about testing a second vehicle, likely an SUV model, and we look forward to providing our initial results in the near future.”

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Fremont Police won accolades for including a Tesla in its patrol car lineup 

The incident is likely to take away from the Fremont Police Department's thunder. In January it announced it would hit the streets of Fremont with a black and white customized Tesla Model S. The police department purchased a used 2014 Tesla Model S and modified it to become part of the patrol car fleet.

"In an effort to improve efficiency, Fremont Police has transitioned part of its fleet from gas-powered vehicles to hybrid vehicles," the Fremont Police said on its website. " Since 2009, the department began using Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion hybrid vehicles.  In 2019, Fremont Police will deploy its first fully electric-powered vehicle as part of its patrol fleet. 

The Tesla hit the streets in March of this year. This is the first time a lack of a charge could have derailed a car chase. But as the market moves to embrace electric vehicles, it may not be the last. 

Update 09/28/2019: Fremont Police released a statement that Tesla police car performing extremely well 

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