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South Pasadena police converting entire fleet to electric vehicles

The South Pasadena Police Department is set to become the first in the nation to employ a fully-electric fleet of vehicles after announcing their plans to convert their current fleet.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 21: A Tesla Model Y electric vehicle is dispalyed on a showroom floor at the Miami Design District on October 21, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Tesla reported $1.6 billion in profits for the months of July, August, and September, a record for them.  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The department announced their decision to transition by purchasing 10 Tesla Model Y patrol vehicle, which is made possible by the nearly $500k in "clean transportation funding" made available by the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, as well as investments from SoCal Edison's Charge Ready program. 

"The safety of our officers and our citizens is the top priority when making a decision like this," said South Pasadena Police Chief Brian Solinsky. "We have been investigating this transition for five to six years, and determined that these electric vehicles will be best operationally for us. They are the safest and fastest vehicles and will save the city money in lower maintenance and fueling costs. The fact they are better for the environment is an added bonus."

In all, South Pasadena has estimated that the department could save more than $300k per vehicle over ten years due to reduced fueling and maintenance costs. A statement released Monday noted that on average, police vehicles cost $4,355 a year to refuel, while recharging costs could average $366.

"We will be putting our officers in the safest and most effective police vehicles on the market," said South Pasadena Councilmember Michael Cacciotti. "In addition to that, we will be investing in technology that will help reduce harmful vehicle emissions to improve air quality for all of our residents. This effort will provide a model for other jurisdictions; we can build a 21st century police force, save significant resources and clean the air at the same time."

Cacciotti says that the project helps support the city's own Climate Action Plan, and that on top of the vehicles, the city will also install nine "Level II" electric vehicle chargers and one "Level III" charger for police. 

Councilmembers first voted on the initiative in September 2022. They then partnered with both the MSRC, which helps provide clean transportation funding to projects intending on reducing vehicle emissions in the South Coast Air District, and SoCal Edison. 

"We are excited to partner with the City of South Pasadena on the first-of-its-kind project to transition an entire fleet of police vehicles to electric," said Larry McCallon, MSRC chair and Mayor of the city of Highland. The MSRC's funding supports these types of innovative clean air projects to help agencies who want to do the right thing succeed in their plans."

South Pasadena will also contribute $1.8 million towards the project in order to purchase 10 Tesla Model 3 administration vehicles for non-patrol and detective use, as well as eight additional "Level II" chargers for the public.

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