South Pasadena PD to add Tesla vehicles, convert police fleet to electric

The South Pasadena Police Department will become the first agency in the nation to convert its entire police fleet to electric vehicles.

The conversion will be made possible by nearly $500,000 in "clean transportation funding" from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, along with "significant" investments by both Southern California Edison's Charge Ready program and the South Pasadena City Council.

South Pasadena has begun the transition and will purchase 10 Tesla Model Y patrol vehicles, officials said. The city will also address infrastructure needs by installing nine police-dedicated "Level II" electric vehicle chargers and one "Level III" electric vehicle charger.

According to South Pasadena Councilmember Michael Cacciotti, the project supports the city's Climate Action Plan, procuring state-of-the-art public safety vehicle technology.

(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

"We will be putting our officers in the safest and most effective police vehicles on the market," Cacciotti said. "In addition to that, we will be investing in technology that will help reduce harmful vehicle emissions to improve air quality for all 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."

The City Council voted in September 2022, to make the switch, as the current public safety vehicle fleet was beyond its useful service life, officials said. The City partnered with the MSRC and Southern California 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, chair of the MSRC 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."

The MSRC provides clean transportation funding to projects that reduce emissions from motor vehicles in the South Coast Air District.

"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 the 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 that they are better for the environment is an added bonus."

The City estimates that the police department may save more than $300,000 per vehicle over ten years in reduced fueling and maintenance costs. Fueling costs alone for a vehicle should be reduced more than ten-fold, from $4,355 for gasoline to $366 in electrical energy costs per year, officials estimate.

Also, the city is providing $1.8 million toward the project to purchase up to 10 Tesla Model 3 administrative vehicles for non-patrol and detective use, as well as installing up to eight additional "Level II" electric vehicle chargers. And a portion of the infrastructure will be public facing, in an effort to support the growing number of electric vehicles in the community, to promote access to charging capabilities in South Pasadena, and to further support electrification efforts citywide.

Upon the completion of the Police fleet electrification project, the department will have 20 electric vehicles for patrol and administrative uses.