It has not gone unnoticed that the Crested Butte marshal’s office has a new ride. It’s a Tesla Model X and we have to say it looks pretty sweet. We asked chief marshal Mike Reily to answer a few questions about the stylish addition to the marshal’s fleet.
Why a Tesla marshal’s car?
The project actually started in 2018 when we added two electric motorcycles to fit with the other small electric vehicles (EV) being purchased in furtherance of the Town’s Climate Action Plan. We looked at potential EV police car options in 2019 with the town’s fleet manager for the 2020 budget and there were not a lot of options. Many vehicles were unable to meet our requirements: some did not have enough clearance (the Tesla X raises to allow more clearance when necessary), or could not have a cage fitted in the back seat, and some did not have the pursuit capabilities needed for a police vehicle. Key items for us were range, all-wheel drive, utility, interior room, storage and a proven track record. Once we eliminated the other vehicles, the only real option was the Tesla Model X. We ordered the vehicle and started to work with upfitters when the pandemic hit. With budgetary uncertainty, the project was put on hold and Tesla graciously put off delivery until 2021 when we picked up where we left off.
How much did it cost?
The Chevy Tahoes we typically purchase for our fleet cost approximately $50,000. The Tesla X costs $82,000 making a difference of approximately $32,000 for the vehicle. The total cost with the police package upfit to include radios, cage and radar unit put the price around $107,000. The vehicle is completely electric to meet the Town’s green objectives, has a 350-mile range, is assigned to one officer and can be charged while at home, when on foot patrol or when in the office. Two charging stations were paid for with grant money obtained by the town and installed where it lives and at the Marshal’s Office.
How does that compare to the other marshal vehicles? How is it different from the other marshal vehicles?
Obviously, it is electric and the others have gas engines. While there was a higher initial cost with the Model X, there are savings to be had with cheaper fuel costs (gas v electricity), and the maintenance issues surrounding gas engines such as oil, motor and transmission issues which are not required with an EV, even brake pad replacements are minimal due to the regenerative braking which decreases maintenance. It has slightly less ground clearance but is certainly more maneuverable.
Is there value in terms of town climate action plan?
The Town Council’s green initiative is one of the priorities for the Town of Crested Butte so adding EVs will come for all departments. This vehicle will be used to determine if future fleet vehicles should be electric as well. For 2022 we are already looking at cheaper options such as the Model Y with pricing more comparable to the Tahoe.
Can it perform as well as the other vehicles?
From everything we have seen in testing, and with the short time we have had the upfitted vehicle, we believe it will match or exceed the value and abilities of our current SUVs.
Is it fast?
By all accounts, yes. It has a 2.5 second 0-60 and a 9.9 second 1/4 mile.
Is it fun?
Like the EV motorcycles, yes. There are so many amenities in the vehicle, which make the car safer and more ergonomic for the officer which can’t be undervalued.
Is it quiet?
Very quiet like other EV cars and trucks.
Is it sort of like Aspen and the Saabs?
I think that was much more of a branding and marketing deal where they were able to negotiate discounted pricing on vehicles for high profile promotion. No EV company was buying into the discounted vehicle for promotion program so we simply went with the vehicle which met our needs best. I’m not sure how good their leased Saabs were since they couldn’t easily attach cages or control boxes or the items needed for a practical patrol car. That Aspen/Vail deals seemed like a promotional gimmick that benefitted those departments but didn’t give them practical cop cars. Our vehicle was chosen to meet our needs for its intended purpose of emergency response and daily patrol.