Nitro, West Virginia, Joins Police Forces With Tesla Patrol Car

The City of Nitro, West Virginia, has joined other cities across the nation that have added a Tesla vehicle to their fleets. The city bought its Tesla Model 3 for around $40,000 and will invest another $10,000 to modify the vehicle for use by the police force — lights, sirens, and other equipment must be added. In its Facebook post, the Nitro Police Department noted that Mayor Casebold and Police Chief Fleming wanted to modernize the fleet while keeping the costs at a manageable level.

“With electric cars becoming more and more commonplace, the idea of having an electric car was discussed.”

The mayor and police chief researched the idea of adding an EV and spoke with another agency in Indiana that had purchased five Teslas for its department. The agency wasn’t named. It could have been Bargersville, which now has four Teslas in its fleet according to Government Fleet. (We’ve written about Bargersville’s Tesla police vehicles a few times. See here and here, for example.) The Nitro Police Department also added:

“The city in Indiana is very similar to our City of Nitro, in size, population, and layout of the city. They were extremely happy with the Tesla’s, and plan on purchasing more. We have spoke with Tesla regarding the capabilities of the vehicle.

“The Nitro Police Department mechanic, Kevin Williams, also did a lot of research on the Tesla. Maintenance, fuel savings, life of parts, etc. All the research indicated that the purchase of the Tesla would be a positive move. But this year, Mayor Casebolt and Chief Fleming have purchased three new patrol vehicles for the Nitro Police Department.

“The first was a regular Ford Interceptor, the second is a Ford Interceptor Hybrid, and the third is the Tesla. The Ford Interceptors still have not been delivered. But the plan is, when all three are on the road, there is going to be a 12-month comparison between all three vehicles, to see what the cost benefit is to the City and the Taxpayers, while meeting the needs of the Police Department.

“Ptlm. Matt Haynes has been assigned the Tesla 3. If you see Ptlm. Haynes out and about, feel free to ask him about the Tesla. He is very knowledgeable about the new patrol car and will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.”

Mayor Casebolt also spoke with CNN affiliate WCHS and said, “We believe time will show that through the fuel savings, maintenance cost, and resale value, that this car will be cost-neutral to the citizens of Nitro.”

He explained that the vehicle can go 500 miles on $18 worth of electricity while the other police cruisers need around $90 in fuel to cover the same distance. This savings is around $5,000 annually per vehicle. The department has also installed a Tesla charging station outside of the building, with a planned policy to keep the vehicle charged to at least 50% at all times so that it’s always ready to be deployed. The city also purchased a Ford Interceptor Hybrid and a Ford Interceptor (a standard police vehicle). The department wants to compare the three vehicles over the next year to see which has the best cost benefit.

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