SHPD completes electric vehicle pilot program

Availability of charging ports were identified as the main challenge for electric police cars

During Tuesday’s Signal Hill City Council meeting, Police Chief Wayne Byerley discussed the Signal Hill Police Department’s completed electric vehicle pilot program, during which the department tested out two electric cars for a week. 

The pilot program was done in collaboration with Signal Hill Tesla, which provided two brand-new Model 3 vehicles and offered charging services free of charge.

One of the borrowed cars from Signal Hill Tesla was used as a detective vehicle, while the other was outfitted with SHPD decals and used for parking enforcement.

Byerley told the council that electric vehicles are increasing in popularity among law enforcement due to their lower maintenance and fuel costs. He also spoke to the Chief of the South Pasadena Police Department about his department’s experiences as the first in the country to completely switch to a completely electric fleet.

He went on to note that one of the main challenges with using electric vehicles is accessing charging infrastructure. However, he said that while Signal Hill Tesla offered to provide charging services during the pilot program, neither of the two vehicles needed to be charged during the week-long pilot program.

Byerley said he chose to reach out to Signal Hill Tesla and propose a partnership for the pilot program to showcase the City’s desire to explore electric vehicle options while supporting a local business. 

Byerley commended Tesla for their partnership and customer service, noting their responsiveness and support throughout the program.

Feedback from police personnel highlighted the ease of driving, high speeds, safety features and storage space as positives for the Model 3 Tesla, while challenges included low ground clearance and seat comfort when wearing a duty belt, Byerley said.

Looking ahead, Byerley said he wants to identify additional police vehicles suitable for replacement with electric alternatives, while considering factors such as the availability of charging infrastructure and whether they are fast enough for police pursuits. 

Byerley said a potential public works study on adding charging ports to certain public facilities may also be underway next year.


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