West Midlands Police on a charge with electric car fleet

West Midlands Police has taken delivery of 30 new electric cars as part of its ongoing commitment to enhance the fleet and move to a greener form of travel.

May 30, 2013
By Paul Jacques

West Midlands Police has taken delivery of 30 new electric cars as part of its ongoing commitment to enhance the fleet and move to a greener form of travel.

The force became the first in the country to operate an electric patrol car in 2009 and last summer trialled the Nissan Leaf on all ten local policing units (LPUs) across the area.

Following the success of the trials and feedback from officers who use the cars on a daily basis, West Midlands Police has negotiated a three-year lease for the cars.

The 30 vehicles will be split evenly across the force area and used as ‘diary’ cars – attending pre-arranged appointments with victims and other members of the public who have contacted police.

Director of resources, David Wilkin, said: “The cars can carry five people, will be liveried with the force crest and will help to reduce our

carbon footprint as they have zero emissions.”

He added that as well as being greener, the electric cars costs a fraction of the cost per mile to run compared to a petrol car so will provide significant savings on fuel costs.

The cost to fully charge the car is £1.75 compared to a full tank of fuel, which costs around £50.

With a range of between 70 and 80 miles from a full battery charge, the cars reach speeds of a conventional vehicle.

Mr Wilkin said: “The current diary cars average 40 to 45 miles a day, so the new Nissans are ideally suited for their day-to-day needs.

“The battery will be charged via dedicated installations at each LPU, though recharging is also possible using a normal three-pin socket.”

West Midlands police and crime commissioner Bob Jones said: “I welcome the introduction of the new cars. Their arrival will help the force save money on fuel costs at a time where we continue to face financial challenges and will also help us to do our bit for the environment.”

Last month, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) began a six-week pilot using electric cars on patrols for the first time.

The car is being used by officers from North Down neighbourhood policing team and C District Superintendent Yvonne Davidson said: “As part of the PSNI’s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment, a number of options are being examined to look at more economical and environmentally friendly ways to deliver our services to the public. The use of an electric car is one option that may be considered as we attempt to reduce our carbon footprint.

“The Vauxhall Ampera is part of a PSNI pilot scheme looking at the pros and cons of using electric vehicles. Similar vehicles have been requested from other manufacturers and following their assessment the PSNI will consider whether to add the electric vehicle to the fleet.”

The car is supported by a 1.4l petrol engine that will activate if the charge drops below a predetermined level. The batteries are charged through a normal three-pin socket.

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