Eden Prairie, MN

Eden Prairie Police Department pilots fully electric patrol car

Paula Carlsen

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edenpraire.org

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN — The Eden Prairie Police Department will put the 2021 Tesla Model Y through 100,000 miles of testing as well as continuously evaluate its performance.

This initiative is part of the city’s ongoing pursuit of a more efficient vehicle fleet, which aligns with the Sustainable Eden Prairie initiative and Climate Action Plan goal of communitywide carbon neutrality by 2050.

Despite being among the most heavily used vehicles in a city fleet, police patrol cars are among the least likely when converting to electric. But, with Eden Prairie’s Climate Action Plan in mind, an internal workgroup investigated the possibility of using an electric vehicle as a patrol car, culminating in the acquisition of the Model Y.

Buying a fully electric vehicle often costs more than buying a car with an internal combustion engine. They do, however, have lower lifetime operating costs due to the lack of gasoline and mechanical components. With the Model Y, the city saves money on maintenance and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

“The EPPD is excited to deploy our first fully electric patrol car this week, which will be used for traffic enforcement and various other patrol functions,” stated Police Chief Matt Sackett. “Based on our research, as well as anecdotes from police departments across the country that have started using them, we anticipate a high level of performance and low maintenance costs from our Tesla Model Y.”

More than a decade ago, the City of Eden Prairie began transitioning to hybrid automobiles. There are now two plug-in hybrid electric cars and ten hybrids in use by various departments around the city, including Chevrolet Volts, Ford Fusions, Interceptors, Escapes and Explorers, a Toyota Prius and several RAV4s, among its 129 light-duty vehicles. The city has also built public charging stations at city facilities, with more planned in the future.

“Eden Prairie’s leadership in sustainability goes back nearly 20 years when former mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens, who attended the inaugural Sundance Summit Mayors’ Gathering on Climate Protection, established the city’s Conservation Commission — now known as the Sustainability Commission — and introduced Eden Prairie’s first initiative to increase energy efficiency and reduce the city’s carbon footprint,” said Mayor Ron Case.

“It has been my honor to continue these efforts and oversee the establishment of the city’s Climate Action Plan, which has led to further electrification of the city’s vehicle fleet and additional amenities to serve the growing number of our residents and visitors with electric vehicles.”

The squad car pilot will guide Eden Prairie’s future fleet vehicle decisions, serve as a model for other towns, and perhaps even inspire more residents to consider electric when making their next vehicle purchase.

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