Watch CBS News

Coral Gables Police debuts Tesla police car

Coral Gables Police debuts Tesla police car
Coral Gables Police debuts Tesla police car 02:42

MIAMI - There's nothing unusual about seeing a Tesla in Coral Gables, but the brand new Model Y spotted on Miracle Mile this week is no ordinary electric vehicle.  

It's an official Coral Gables Police patrol car, complete with police decals, lights and sirens. End up in the back seat of this Tesla, and you may be going to jail.

The car was purchased by the City Beautiful as part of a pilot program pushed by Mayor Vince Lago, who lives in a solar-powered home and drives an electric-powered Mercedes Benz SUV.

"What you have here is a beautiful car with over 300 miles of range which the police will be using in the downtown area," Lago said as he stood proudly next to the new Tesla patrol car."

Asked if police officers will like the electric vehicle, Lago was quick to respond, "Listen, I already know the officers are going to like it. They're going to enjoy it," he said. "The ride is very comfortable."

Coral Gables officer Alex Engmann, a Tesla owner himself, drove the Model Y on its first day patrolling Miracle Mile.

"There's a learning curve with the Tesla, but it's an easy one and once you know certain things at the beginning it's very easy to learn and appreciate," he said. "I believe it's more comfortable than my patrol vehicle."

Chief Ed Hudak said the Tesla's $50,000 price tag is comparable to the price of Ford Explorers the department normally buys. Tesla's $7,500 federal tax credit and gas savings make it even more attractive, but the chief still has concerns.

"It has to be able to hold prisoners," he said. "It has to be able to hold a lot of equipment in the trunk, and power lights, sirens and a police computer that's on the entire time." 

"Right now you have gas prices that have nearly doubled over the past few years," Mayor Lago said. "This is going to save money and we want to pass those savings over to our residents."

"The mayor has pushed this and it's something we have to look at just to be good citizens of the earth," Chief Hudak added.

Coral Gables joins Hallandale Beach, where a similar Tesla police patrol car pilot program is also underway. Hallandale Beach Public Information Officer Kisha Eugene said the Tesla patrol car has been well received in the Broward city.

Eugene gave this statement to CBS News Miami: "The electric patrol car meets our law enforcement's rigorous demands and contributes to a sustainable and environmentally conscious future for Hallandale Beach.

The initiative has garnered growing approval and support from our community. It enhances public safety and fosters a sense of pride and confidence in our community's commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.