Electric cars are fast catching up with Internal Combustion engine powered regular cars in almost all aspects and then some. In fact, EVs are claimed to be cleaner, silent, and even quicker than the conventional ICE cars which have been around for more than a century now. However, EVs are not yet ready to replaced ICE cars on a full-fledged level globally as they are held back by one of their basic drawbacks, which is charging time and low range. The same was experienced by a cop from the Fremont Police Department’s while he was in pursuit of a criminal.
A Tesla electric police patrol car in San Francisco ran low on power at one of the worst possible times — during a pursuit.https://t.co/HBvQHjrkjf
— CNN International (@cnni) September 25, 2019
The cop was driving a 2014 Tesla Model S 85, which is among the lower end variants of the Model S range. While patrolling, he attempted a stop on a suspect but the latter took off as soon as he sensed a cop on his heels. This started a chase which lasted for, well just a few minutes. According to the police department of Fremont, the cop realised while chasing the suspect that there were only six miles of charge left on his Tesla and that too for regular speeds and not high-speed driving. He broadcasted the same on the radio and thankfully, other police units were following behind to assist and ultimately took over the pursuit. However, the chase was called off after 10 minutes for safety reasons and while the police did find the car later on, the suspect managed to escape.
This is probably the first such case where a police officer had to abandon a chase due to the vehicle getting discharged. While we have nothing against Tesla and appreciate the company’s serious efforts to push the EV envelope higher up, something like this was bound to happen. Normal police vehicles do have a rule about how much minimum fuel they should be having in the tank.
The general guideline is that it should at least be half full at the beginning of the shift. According to the Fremont police department, this particular Tesla adhered to the same but at the time of the chase, it ran out of juice. To let you know, these Tesla cars are with the Fremont Police for a 6-month long pilot program which aims to test the integration of the Tesla with the department. All the data is recorded and analyzed for the same.
In past, there have been a few cases where car thieves were caught because the EV they stole ran out of charge midway through the chase. In this case, though, the criminal got lucky and escaped a possible sentence. There have been instances where even regular ICE police cars too had to abandon a chase due to low fuel but such cases are rare. Police forces of several countries have started using EVs on experimental bases in their fleet and this will definitely come as a reminder for them to set clear rules for a minimum battery charge on a police EV.
In future, EVs will have a much better range as compared to the present day EVs and that would be a time where we would have to bid a painful but much-needed goodbye to ICE cars. In fact, future EVs may not run on a power source such as Li-ion batteries as several other technologies like fuel cells have been successful in getting even better results.