Hallandale adds 13 Teslas to police fleet

HALLANDALE BEACH — The next time you see a Hallandale officer pull up to a curb, they might be driving a Tesla.

The Hallandale Beach Police Department is adding 13 Tesla Model Y vehicles to its fleet to bring down emissions and save money, the department said.

“We’re thrilled to be rolling out the largest deployment of electric police vehicles in the state of Florida — we believe the largest deployment in the United States, and to get these EVs on the road,” City Manager Dr. Jeremy Earle said in a news release.

Each vehicle will save roughly $9,000 in gas and have a 1.8 times higher resale price than gas vehicles at the end of the Teslas’ lifespan Hallandale officials said in the news release.

Twelve of out the 13 Teslas will be used by detectives until the police department can determine if they would make good patrol cars. By the end of the year, the department also will purchase 49 pursuit-rated hybrid Ford Interceptors to meet the need for new green patrol cars. The 62 new vehicles are expected the save the city what could be the equivalent of 117 homes’ worth of electricity each year, city officials estimated in the news release.

In addition to helping cut back on long-term costs, the electric vehicles are supposed to be good for the environment. According to Hallandale’s 50 by 30 Climate Action Plan, nearly half of the city’s greenhouse emissions come from transportation. The Action Plan, adopted in 2021, aims to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030.

Each Tesla cost $51,290, according to Cathie Schanz, the director of Hallandale’s Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces division. About 55% of that cost was covered by the American Rescue Plan Act, a 2021 COVID-relief package designed to fund local governments, individuals and businesses struggling with the pandemic. The rest of the money came from the city’s fleet replacement budget, Schanz said. Because the city purchased the vehicles a while ago, they didn’t pay today’s sticker price of about $65,000.

Backlash came from social media after the city posted about the plan to add the Teslas to the fleet. Some complained about the usage of funds to purchase new electric vehicles while the city still needs to address road and water infrastructure, homelessness and other needs. One commenter called it a waste of grant and taxpayer money.

“How about spending money on fixing water and infrastructure problems?” another Facebook user commented. Hallandale Mayor Joy Cooper responded, saying the city is working on that.

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Some residents jumped in to defend the move, saying the city can still tackle those issues while trying to be greener.

“We needed police vehicles,” Cooper wrote in response to a Facebook comment criticalizing the city for purchasing Teslas. “Public safety is and will remain a priority.”

Each Tesla will replace one gas-powered car in the police’s current fleet, Schanz said. Going forward, as the city’s gas vehicles need to be retired, they will be replaced by electric vehicles when possible, in accordance with the 50 by 30 plan.

“We have a sustainability action plan, and part of that is the city’s fleet will be all electric. We’ll be working toward all electric vehicles in the future where possible,” she said.

Some of the goals from the plan include:

  • Replace 100% of light-duty administrative fleet vehicles with electric vehicles
  • Replace police vehicles with hybrids until pursuit-rated electric vehicles are available and look for opportunities to use electric vehicles when pursuit rated is not required
  • Create a Fleet Electrification plan which includes medium- and heavy-duty vehicles wherever feasible

“These Tesla police vehicles represent a win-win-win for our police officers, for the city’s residents, and for the environment,” Hallandale Vice Mayor Mike Butler said in the news release. “Our officers are getting an ideal vehicle for their work. Our residents are saving money over traditional police vehicles and can be proud that Hallandale Beach is one of the first police departments in the country to go electric. And finally, as a beach community directly affected by rising sea levels, these cars will reduce the city’s contribution to climate change.”

Staff writer Olivia Lloyd can be reached at olloyd@SunSentinel.com

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