Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New York City unveils electric police cars

By +Alexa Rankin

Government departments are under constant pressure and scrutiny to adopt cleaner, greener methods while staying within federal budgets and maintaining service levels. While this is a tricky tightrope for anybody to walk, the city of New York is doing it's part by introducing electric police cars to the fleet.

The Dodge Police Interceptoy
The original concept for the electric cop car
The possibility of an electric cop car was originally investigated back in 2005 and while the 12v Dodge Police Interceptoy (pictured above) met the budget, it's 6 m.p.h. top speed and 75 minute battery life fell short of expectations and the project was shelved. 8 years on, a new version of the electric police vehicle was introduced in North Dakota by the Fargo PD.

The GEM e2 NEV, with it's 72v battery, tops out at a whopping 25 m.p.h. with a range of 30 miles. While they are not going to be any use in high-speed chases, they have replaced the bicycle mounted division of the local police department. Unfortunately the GEM is only useful for half of the year because the cold North Dakota winters have a drastic effect on the battery, and the open 'cockpit' does little to keep the officers protected from the elements.

GEM e2 NEV police car
The GEM e2 NEV with optional rear mounted donut basket
Last week the NYPD trumped these efforts with their 16 car fleet of modified Chevy Volt hybrid electric police cars. Boasting a 35 mile all-electric range and a top speed of 100 m.p.h. the Volt is the most advanced electric police vehicle ever. Sadly the Volt can only sustain it's top speed for 21 minutes before exhausting the 435 pound battery. Fortunately, it is unlikely that anyone would get close to 100 m.p.h. driving the streets of New York.

Chevy Volt Police Cruiser
Chevy Volt Police Cruiser
I have compiled a list of pros and cons about being a police officer driving a big battery on wheels.

PROS

  • The running costs are much cheaper than gas driven vehicles.
  • The cars are virtually silent allowing police to sneak up on criminals.
  • There are no shortage of plug-ins to power your in-car electronics.
  • You spend less time at the gas station and more time arresting people.
  • You get a good feeling from being Earth friendly


CONS
  • The battery takes up most of the car leaving no space for weapons or felons
  • Turning on your lights and sirens increases power consumption by 20%
  • You wouldn't have enough power to pursue OJ for the full 2 hour, 50 mile chase
  • Spending less time at the gas station means fewer donuts
  • You don't get any 'hot chicks' like your colleague who got the 2015 Dodge Charger cop car

What do you think? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Should criminals play fair and use electrics for their getaway cars? Share you thoughts about electric vehicles in the comments section below.

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