It’s sleek and sporty and carries an air of extravagance. The new Tesla Y, purchased for $51,290 by Bergen County commissioners for use by police, is not your typical fleet vehicle.
But Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella insist that it’s a sensible option that could even save taxpayers money. And Commissioner Tracy Zur considers it a step toward saving the planet.
The Tesla is part of a pilot program that will allow for public safety agencies throughout Bergen County to experience electrified vehicles.
The car, an all-wheel-drive, long-range model Y vehicle, can travel an estimated 314 miles per charge and seat seven people.
Zur said the program is being implemented in an effort to lower the county’s carbon footprint and meet the goals set by the federal and state governments.
“We don’t want to sacrifice performance, so by purchasing the Tesla, which is on par with what we pay for a Tahoe or an Intercept, we can give departments and municipalities the chance to try out a electric vehicle,” Zur said. “It will give them comfort to see that performance will not be sacrificed.”
The cost of operating an electric vehicle is less than that of a gas vehicle, both because electricity is cheaper than gas and because maintenance costs are lower. The U.S. Department of Energy puts maintenance costs at around 6 cents per mile, versus 10 cents for standard vehicles.
Both the Tesla and a Chevy Bolt that was purchased earlier this year will be lent to different departments through the community policing division. The Bolt is in line with a parking enforcement vehicle, while the Tesla is most similar to a standard police vehicle.
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Musella noted that Teslas are being used by other law enforcement agencies, including the New York Police Department, and that he expects to see a “reduction in repair and maintenance costs as compared to conventional vehicles and the elimination of fuel costs.”
The county has already made a commitment to installing charging stations because of the “need to start investing in our future,” Zur said. Charging is available at Van Saun County Park in Paramus and will be in Overpeck Park and at county buildings in Hackensack and Paramus.
In addition to familiarizing local agencies with the technology, the county hopes that the vehicles will create positive interactions with the public.
Both Musella and Zur noted that 59 of the 70 communities in Bergen County have been identified as having an “unfair burden of exposure from environmental effects of pollution.”
“This is an effort to meet our goal of slowly but surely lowering our carbon emissions to save the environment,” Zur said.
Katie Sobko is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.