RCMP on the West Shore are sporting Canada’s first fully electric police cruiser — a Tesla Model Y.
The relatively more affordable Tesla model was unveiled at an event Tuesday, marking a milestone for the country’s national police service as it hits the gas on plans to be net zero by 2050.
“The prime reason why West Shore RCMP is the pilot test site for electric vehicles in the RCMP is because of our geography, as well as our mild winter weather,” Const. Nancy Saggar, the detachment’s media relations officer, told CHEK News at the event.
“We realize that Tesla or electric vehicles are not going to be suitable for all Canadian environments, including our rural northern communities,” Saggar said, noting Vancouver Island and Greater Victoria, in particular, have a high rate of EVs.
The new marked cruiser meets policing standards and will be used by frontline officers responding to calls for service, just like existing police vehicles already on the road, Mounties said in a news release.
The Model Y also complies with the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, according to West Shore RCMP, who say their detachment will likely be able to cut back on costs, too, thanks to Tesla.
“With the amount of hours that we can sit idle, say at a collision scene, the gas savings would be big,” Const. Mark Hall told CHEK News in an interview.
In 2020, the average cruiser on the West Shore came with an annual maintenance and fuel cost of around $11,100. Since then, police say costs have only increased, but electric vehicle charging should help combat that while also reducing environmental impacts.
Supt. Todd Preston says West Shore RCMP is also looking to the future, mainly because the detachment offers 24-hour service and its cruisers are constantly on the road.
“We’re also expecting to test two more electric vehicles in 2023, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Ford F-150,” Preston said. “Adopting electric vehicles into our fleet demonstrates the RCMP’s stewardship and commitment to innovation in policing.”
CHEK News asked West Shore RCMP how much the new Tesla cruiser cost and was directed to RCMP national headquarters, which had not responded as of 6 p.m.
Before arriving on the West Shore, the vehicle was trialled by police in Washington, while the Mach-E was tested in Michigan, where it passed a state evaluation.
Last March, the Oak Bay Police Department’s first electric cruiser, a Kia, hit the road, while police in both Victoria and Saanich told CHEK News they, too, hope to go green.
That same month, crews broke ground on a first-of-its-kind, 35,000-square-foot Tesla centre in Langford. The centre, set to open in 2023, will make things easier for Tesla drivers on the Island who currently have to commute to the Mainland to get their vehicles serviced.