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Police Tesla Nearly Ran Out of Power During Chase The Fremont Police Department still believes in a new pilot program that utilizes a Tesla electric-powered patrol car, despite the vehicle running low on power during a recent pursuit. According to a source at The East Bay Times, California police officer Jesse Hartman, in the Tesla Model S, was involved in a high-speed pursuit of a suspect-driven Toyota Avalon late on September 20.

The eight-minute, 10-mile chase proceeded onto the local freeway, Interstate 680 when Officer Hartman radioed dispatch that the car, purchased by the department last March, was running low on battery. He reported that the electric auto warned there were only six miles of battery charge remaining. Hartman needed another officer to take over as he might not be able to continue the pursuit much longer.

He said, “I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla, so I may lose it here in a sec,” adding, “If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the No. 1 spot?”
Geneva Bosques, a spokesperson for the Fremont police, later told NBC Bay Area that the vehicle in question was not completely charged at the start of the police officer’s shift at 2:00 pm and added that the actual pursuit did not start until approximately 11:00 pm.

Bosques told the press: “This one instance does not in any way change our feeling regarding the performance of the vehicle for patrol purposes. The officer was monitoring the charge and responsibly notifying everyone of its status during the approximate 10-mile pursuit.”

The Fremont Police Department soon had at least two other cars following behind the Tesla Model S ready to take over the pursuit. Additionally, the California Highway Patro
l was also on its way. The chase was called off by a police sergeant minutes after the radio transmission.

The following week, numerous national news headlines appeared blaming the electric patrol car. The New York Post even ran an erroneous headline: “Cop’s Tesla runs out of battery power during high-speed chase.” The Fremont Police Department, however, begged to differ.

The following Monday, Bosques corrected the misconception. She told the press:
“At no time did the Tesla end up having to leave the pursuit, it didn’t die on the freeway, and it really didn’t impact this pursuit in any way. “It’s the fastest car we have in our fleet and it handles really well in pursuits.”

The chase reached speeds over 110 mph. It was called off only “to ensure public
safety” after the wanted Avalon drove onto the freeway shoulder to pass an unspecified civilian vehicle. The California Highway Patrol later located the unnamed felony suspect’s vehicle abandoned in nearby San Jose.

In an official statement, The department noted that the electric car’s low battery was not any different than a traditional vehicle running low on gas, getting a flat or having other issues in the midst of a pursuit. They concluded: “This situation, while embarrassing, is no different from cases where a patrol car runs low (or even dry) of fuel.”

  • Image Source: Fremont Police
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