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Lathrop Police may soon patrol driving Tesla Model 3 sedan

Tesla currently has one rented manufacturing facility, one building of their own, and a temporary car distribution staging yard in Lathrop.

And soon enough they may have a part of Lathrop Police Services’ patrol fleet. 

On Monday the Lathrop City Council approved an item that will allow city staff to apply for a $20,000 grant from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Board that would go towards the purchase of a new Tesla Model 3 that would be used for regular police patrol operations. 

The vehicle, which has been adopted by other police departments in California as a way to cut ongoing expenses, is expected to run for 500,000 miles, and will not require gasoline or regular upkeep costs – thus saving the city money long-term. 

While other alternative fuel source vehicles were looked at, the Tesla not only offers more space to allow for the installation of the things that a patrol car needs, but also superior performance over nearly every other standard patrol vehicle in the field today – accelerating from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.3 seconds, and clocking a quarter-mile at 11.8 seconds without any modifications. In comparison, a stock Corvette won’t hit 60 miles per hour until about 4 seconds and is more than half-a-second slower in the quarter-mile despite seating only two passengers.

If the City of Lathrop is awarded the grant, the money will be applied towards the purchase of the nearly $45,000 vehicle – which will come with the charger that will be installed at Lathrop Police Services – to bolster their existing fleet. The cost with the grant makes the Tesla roughly $5,000 less than a standard Dodge police sedan, and more than $15,000 less than the police-capable Chevrolet Tahoe that many departments are now switching to because of its versatility and ability to withstand the rigors of patrol work. 

The Fremont Police Department – whose patrol area includes the main manufacturing point for Tesla’s vehicles – currently uses a 2014 Tesla Model S 85, which uses a larger battery that produces more power and better performance. 

The Silicon Valley darling expanded its operations to Lathrop in 2014 when it took over a vacant warehouse along I-5 that was previously used to distribute Mopar parts. That 431,000 square-foot facility is believed to be a manufacturing facility for metal parts used in the Model S and Model X, and a new building – measuring nearly 800,000 square-feet – that the company is building behind the old Pilkington glass plant on Louise Avenue is almost complete. 

The company has helped the city grab numerous headlines as their operations in the community continue to expand, and the temporary storage yard inside of the fencing of the Pilkington plant that at one time held thousands of new Tesla vehicles waiting to be shipped out created a buzz on Tesla-specific websites and blogs. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.