A Tesla Model 3 police car made an appearance at the Accelerate Policing conference, an event hosted by law enforcement tech company Axon. The symposium was held in Phoenix, AZ, and it featured presentations and discussions on recent innovations for the law enforcement industry.
Images taken of the Model 3 police vehicle suggest that the electric car was specifically modified by Axon itself, as well as Tomar, a manufacturer of police car equipment. Wrapped in matte silver and white and emblazoned with the words “Police” in classic Tesla font, the Model 3 looked every bit like a police cruiser. Modifications such as a lightbar inside the cabin and police lights on the side mirrors also give the electric cruiser a distinctly futuristic look.
Quite interestingly, the Model 3 police car was fitted with what appeared to be 20″ wheels, which are great for performance but not really practical for police duty. The vehicle also appears to be a non-performance Model 3, due to the absence of red brake calipers.
While Axon’s Model 3 police car appears to have been built simply as a concept, the idea of using the electric sedan for law enforcement actually makes a lot of sense.
Teslas have been used by police for years, though the high costs of the Model S and Model X have largely prevented their widespread use. This issue is not present with the Model 3, which costs significantly less than the premium sedan and SUV.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Chief of the city’s Metropolitan Police, recently spoke with Elon Musk about testing Teslas for the agency’s fleet. Scotland Yard plans to replace 700 of its 4,000 cars by 2018, and it has set a goal of deploying 250 alternative energy vehicles.
“These first vehicles are a stepping stone that will allow us to build the volume over time once we have the right technology and infrastructure in place,” Jiggs Bharij, Head of Metropolitan Police Fleet Services, told the Evening Standard.
Police vehicles are subjected to a lot of use and abuse during their years of service. According to the Fremont PD, police cruisers drive around 40-70 miles a day on average, and each vehicle is driven hard on a consistent basis.
From these requirements, it appears that the Standard Plus Model 3 could be a perfect fit for police duty, since it’s affordable enough for mass deployment while including all the advantages of its more expensive siblings. Axon’s Tesla Model 3 police car definitely looks the part. Perhaps, in the future, the Model 3 could even be as ubiquitous as the Crown Vic. One can only hope.