Australia’s first electric police car signals new era for Victoria’s Highway Patrol

Victoria Police have bought Australia's first electric car.

Victoria Police have purchased the nation’s first electric police car for use on highway patrols.

The Tesla Model X will join the department’s Road Policing Command to reduce impact on the environment as well as helping police integrate new technology.

The use of electric vehicles (EV) could signal a new era in Australian road policing if the trial is successful.

Victoria may be the first in Australia, but it’s not the first in the world. In the San Francisco Bay area, Fremont, California police were the first US law enforcement agency to deploy an EV for patrol duty. Police in Basel, Switzerland also have a Model X police car.

First electric police car more expensive, more flexible

The Tesla Model X retails between $136,000 and $182,000 depending on specification.

Its driving range is anywhere between 425 and 550 kilometres. The Model X could also be the fastest police car in Australia, with 0-100 km/h acceleration in less than three seconds.

The electric police car costs three or four times more than the traditional Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore police cars.

However, these fleets are being discontinued around Australia and replaced by overseas models. Which makes it a good time to test out a new type of police vehicle, such as electric police cars.

EVs offer state-of-the-art in-car systems

The police EV will be part of a feasibility study into electric cars in Australia’s police force.

Meanwhile, Victoria Police will also work with Tesla engineers and emergency equipment manufacturers to produce a state-of-the-art in-car system which out-performs those currently in use. Victoria Police’s IT technicians will help design a new software system.

Stephen Leane is assistant commissioner for Victoria Police’s Road Policing Command. He says EV green credentials are also important because police cars travel thousands of kilometres each year.

Mixed fortunes for Australian EV industry post-election

The future of Australia’s EV industry is uncertain following the Coalition’s re-election in the May 18 federal election.

The Labor Opposition wanted EVs to make up 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030. However, the Liberal-National Coalition ran a campaign implying that Labor was un-Australian by wanting to take away petrol-driven cars.

Since the election, the Coalition has been quiet regarding its EV plans. Its published EV strategy has no specific plans to promote the industry.

However,  a recent Climate Council electric vehicle poll shows one-in-six Australians plan to buy an EV as their next car. Two-thirds of respondents also think EVs are the future of Australian transport.

For powering EVs, solar panels can be used to charge the vehicles at home using a home battery. Battery storage like Tesla Powerwall 2 and Enphase can charge an EV overnight.