The City of South Pasadena Police Department will become the first in the nation to convert its entire Police fleet to electric vehicles. Made possible by nearly $500,000 in Clean Transportation Funding from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), and significant investments by both Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready program and South Pasadena City Council, South Pasadena has begun the transition, and will purchase ten (10) Tesla Model Y patrol vehicles, as well as address the infrastructure needs by installing nine (9) Police-dedicated ‘Level II’ electric vehicle chargers and one (1) ‘Level III’ electric vehicle charger.
According to South Pasadena Councilmember Michael Cacciotti, who championed this initiative and transition, this project supports the City’s Climate Action Plan, as well as procurement of state-of-the-art public safety vehicle technology. “We will be putting our officers in the safest and most effective Police vehicles on the market. In addition to that, we will be investing in technology that will help reduce harmful vehicle emissions to improve air quality for all our residents. This effort will provide a model for other jurisdictions; we can build a 21st Century police force, save significant resources and clean the air at the same time.” The City Council voted in September 2022 to make the switch, as the current public safety vehicle fleet was beyond its useful service life. The City partnered with the MSRC and Southern California Edison, combining resources effectively to get this important and timely decision completed.
“We are excited to partner with the City of South Pasadena on the first-of-its-kind project to transition an entire fleet of Police vehicles to electric,” said Larry McCallon, Chair of the MSRC and Mayor of the City of Highland, CA. “The MSRC’s funding supports these types of innovative clean air projects to help agencies who want to do the right thing succeed in their plans.” The MSRC provides Clean Transportation Funding to projects that reduce emissions from motor vehicles in the South Coast Air District.
“The safety of our officers and our citizens is the top priority when making a decision like this,” said South Pasadena Police Chief Brian Solinsky. “We have been investigating this transition for five to six years and determined that these electric vehicles will be the best operationally for us. They are the safest and fastest vehicles and will save the City money in lower maintenance and fueling costs. The fact that they are better for the environment is an added bonus.”
The City estimates that the Police department is projected to enjoy a cost savings of more than $300,000 per vehicle over ten years in reduced fueling and maintenance costs. Fueling costs alone for a vehicle will be reduced more than ten-fold, from $4,355 for gasoline to $366 in electrical energy costs per year.
Additionally, the City is providing $1.8 million toward this project to purchase up to ten (10) Tesla Model 3 administrative vehicles (non-patrol and detective use), as well as installing up to eight (8) additional ‘Level II’ electric vehicle chargers. A portion of the infrastructure will be public facing, in an effort to support the growing number of electric vehicles in the community, to promote access to charging capabilities in the City of South Pasadena, and to further support electrification efforts citywide. Upon the completion of the Police fleet electrification project, the department will have twenty (20) electric vehicles for patrol and administrative uses.
The City is partnering with Southern California Edison who will be installing the electric vehicle chargers through its “Charge Ready” Program. The Charge Ready Program maintains and covers the improvement costs up to the charger for qualified sites, which may include transformers, panel upgrades, meters, and service wiring/conduits, while program participants own, operate, and maintain the charging stations. Partnerships like the one with Southern California Edison make a transition such as this one possible.
The City expects the installation of the chargers to be complete by the end of the year and the vehicles to be in service by February 2024. “We are creating a state-of-the-art Police force” commented Councilmember Cacciotti. “It’s a win for the officers, the community, and the environment. We are so thankful to the MSRC for investing in this clean air future for our community and helping us realize this vision.”