Victoria has become one of the world's first jurisdictions with an operational pure-electric police car, adding a Tesla Model X to its Highway Patrol fleet.
The car is a Model X Long Range, with a claimed 575km of range on the (lenient) NEDC test cycle and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.6 seconds. It's a one-off purchase by Victoria Police, which is looking to investigate its "suitability for road policing duties" going forward.
Pricing starts at $131,900 before on-road costs, (update: Tesla quotes its prices excluding LCT. Including it, the car is worth $149,000) but the police force hasn't disclosed what it actually paid for the American SUV.
It'll be fitted out as a fully-functioning Highway Patrol car, and used across "various regions" in the state, starting with Casey, Dandenong, Baw Baw and Wangaratta.
Tesla is working with the force and its third-party suppliers to integrate necessary equipment – think licence plate scanners, radar units, controls for lights and sirens – into the Model X's cabin, which is built around a 17.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
"This vehicle is unlike any other Victoria Police has ever had in its fleet and could well be the future of road policing in this state, country and the world,” said Stephen Lean, road policing command assistant commissioner.
With the addition of the Model X, Victoria has become one of very few places in the world to use an electric vehicle for policing. The Hyundai Kona Electric is currently in service in Switzerland, Tesla has cars on the Fremont, California police force, and the BMW i3 does service in Zurich, but that's about it.
Assistant Commissioner Leane isn't expecting things to be 100% smooth as the Model X is integrated into the force, acknowledging there's a learning curve that comes with going electric.
“It is important to remember this is a concept vehicle for Victoria Police and we acknowledge that it will produce a number of unique circumstances and will continue to evolve as police software is integrated,” he said.
Police forces around the country have looked to new, interesting places since the end of local manufacturing. The Kia Stinger is now being used in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, while Victoria Police has recently added the Volkswagen Passat to its fleet.