Police Forced To Abandon Chase After Tesla Police Car Runs Out Battery Charge


On a lighter note, police in Fremont, California were forced to abandon a police chase when their all-electric patrol car ran out of juice:

A police officer was forced to call off a high speed pursuit after his Tesla electric squad car – the nation’s first – ran out of power because it hadn’t been charged overnight.

Officers from Fremont Police had been chasing a suspect along the highway of the Californian city, reaching speeds of up to 120mph.

However as the chase progressed officer Jesse Hartman, who was leading the pursuit, warned he may have to fall back.

The force was the first in the US to deploy a fully electric vehicle on patrol duty.

“I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla so I may lose it here in a sec,” the officer told his colleagues via radio, “If someone else is able, can they manoeuvre into the number one spot?.” 

Shortly after the officer had called in the issue the chase was called off over safety concerns, with the suspect driving onto the hard shoulder alongside heavy traffic.

Their vehicle was later found abandoned in San Jose. A felony warrant has been issued for the driver.

A spokesman for the force confirmed to NBC Bay Area the 2014 Tesla Model S, introduced as part of a trial in March, had not been charged at the start of the shift.

“It happens from time to time” he added “especially if an officer returns to the station to take a report and then they never go back out in the street”

It causes one to wonder how things might have turned out if O.J.’s Bronco had been an electric vehicle.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Gustopher says:

    A chase at 120mph likely is far more dangerous than the escaping criminal is. The car had more sense than the officer driving it.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Well, this isn’t really that much sillier than having a police car run out of gas because the driver forgot to fill up, no?

  3. john430 says:

    LOL! I’ll become a green energy supporter when I see the Green Energy freaks take a red-eye night flight on a solar powered jet plane.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Why do I suspect this police chase was entirely unnecessary? (says the guy who’s nephew in law describes his police work for the #1 STL force in cop chases as “mining the populace”)

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john430: Ever run out of gas?

  6. Liberal Capitalist says:


    LOL! I’ll become a green energy supporter when I see the Green Energy freaks take a red-eye night flight on a solar powered jet plane.

    Man! You know, the more naysayers fall back to the “get a horse” arguments, the more technology catches up with them in their lifetime.


    Today? No.

    Soon, probably! I look forward to a 6 prop Uber Drone to the airport.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    @john430: Such planes already exist, m’dear–albeit unmanned. They’re composed with solar cells on the wings to provide electricity during the daytime, some of which is used to split water from a tank to form hydrogen and oxygen, which are stored separately. During the night the hydrogen and oxygen are used to run a fuel cell to provide electricity during the hours of darkness. After the sun comes up, the cycle repeats again.

    Developed for NASA by the same people who did the Gossamer Albatross. Used for upper-altitude atmosphere monitoring for up to six months at a time.

    (You really should check up on present day technology before commenting, no? Maybe you wouldn’t look so silly.)

  8. Teve says:

    Interesting front page story at /. right now:

    “Electric flight is becoming a tantalizingly close reality for shorter-range service,” writes ZDNet. “But increasing passenger carrying capacity and flight times to economically accommodate longer routes will require a major rethink of crucial components.”

    pgmrdlm quotes their report: GE is partnering with the NASA Advanced Air Vehicles Program on a new generation of inverter using GE’s silicon Carbide technology. The project aims to deliver a next gen inverter that provides significantly increased power density over existing technology but is small enough to support electric flight.”We’re essentially packing 1 MW of power into the size of a compact suitcase that will convert enough electric power to enable hybrid-electric propulsion architectures for commercial airplanes,”says Konrad Weeber, Chief Engineer of Electric Power at GE Research. “We have successfully built and demonstrated inverters at ground level that meet the power, size and efficiency requirements of electric flight. The next step is to build and demonstrate one that is altitude ready….”

    GE makes an ideal development partner for NASA because it’s a vertically-integrated, one stop shop. GE designs everything from chips to system level architecture, which makes optimizing a final design to conserve space and weight much more practical over cobbling together a system from multiple contractors.

  9. DrDaveT says:

    So, a Tesla Model S costs $70k+ new. I can’t say this sounds like a really sensible use of limited police department funds…

  10. An Interested Party says:

    Ever run out of gas?

    Actually, he did that with his comment…

  11. Liberal Capitalist says:


    It could have been confiscated. See “Federal Criminal Forfeiture of Property”.

    Or a pilot program funded by the manufacturer.

    Of course, the San Angeles Police Department had much cooler cars.

  12. john430 says:

    @grumpy realist: Of course prototypes exist but I won’t hold my breath .

  13. Lounsbury says:

    @john430: Absolutely pig-ignorant comment (although ignoramus e-car=green is also a Left error as well as knee-jerker Trumpist one). Electric cars of course have f-all in reality to do with “Green Energy” as they are electric, not solar cars. Unless the actual grid is Green, in the sense of the majority of production is not from burning fossil fuels fuel – solar, nuclear, wind, hydro etc. In the end a complete different subject.

    One can look at e-vehicles including hybrids as green in the sense of pollution as it is technologically easier and cheaper to achieve pollution control at large Central generation units burning whatever than in the vehicles.

    Sadly on this subject, the idiocy of American political tribalism, contaminated by pig-ignorance on the Right-reactionary side stuck in 1980s understanding of technology and Pie-in-the-Sky innumerate magical thinking on the Green Left leads to a complete “dialogue of the deaf” as one says in French.

    Of course the issue of e-planes is one rather fundamentally different than road vehicles due to the specific problems of flight and weight, there’s not going to be commercial e-planes in my lifetime due to this, probably ever due to the energy density to weight issue, but e-land vehicles are absolutely on the path to economic efficiency and like Renewables have recently achieved, will eventually (say decade time horizon) for most use cases, be beating hydrocarbons.

    Of course my day job happens to be commercial investment in such things.
    @Liberal Capitalist:
    No, not soon, only the Tech evangelists and the Greeny Left Pie-in-Sky quasi religious believe that.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    A business acquaintance is the motor pool manager for a nearby city police department. That city has a ‘green initiative’ and the PD is looking into electric and hybrid squad cars. Tesla has a program that makes the acquisition cost similar to that of a traditional squad.

    My acquaintance reports that the demo Tesla that they trialed was a rocket ship, quicker and faster than any traditional squad and even quicker than the BMW police motorcycles that they use.

  15. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: electric motors have a Very different torque curve than internal combustion ones.

  16. Liberal Capitalist says:


    @Liberal Capitalist:
    No, not soon, only the Tech evangelists and the Greeny Left Pie-in-Sky quasi religious believe that.

    Soon is relative, but let’s look at the developments:

    1) Drones must be registered with the FAA
    2) Verizon has a patent (bought a company) that automated the submission of a flight plan request for drones, ensuring routing and airspace.
    3) single person sized drones are already available.

    Can you see where this is heading?

    Sure, it’s still at the “mobile phone the size of a suitcase” stage, but the dots are being connected.

  17. Teve says:
  18. grumpy realist says:

    @john430: Nice attempt at recouping your position, but no cigar. 3 out of 10.

    @Liberal Capitalist: Actually, the really interesting aspect we’re seeing is the increasing robotisation of farm machinery, together with the use of drones to monitor crops. Put that together with AI and we may see another drop in the amount of manpower necessary to run a farm. (I can’t remember where I read it, but one farmer–I think in the U.K.–did an experiment on exactly how “hands off” he could get one year. It was still more expensive than the normal process, but he was able to get everything done remotely via drones and farm robots.)

  19. EWM says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: For your nephew in law: “The whole good cop/bad cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his Uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop. We need only consider the following: (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops.” ~Robert Higgs

  20. Jax says:

    @grumpy realist: I’ve started using my drone quite a bit for monitoring irrigation water and weed growth. And looking for cattle, of course. I’m looking forward to better battery capacity in the future models, but there’s a good chance I’m going to have to move over to the industrial side to get that, rather than the ones available for any consumer. I’d love to have robot tractors that put up all the hay on their own!

  21. CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: And given the political and
    other issues around petroleum, having cop cars fueled by something that doesn’t fluctuate wildly on the world market, and can be sourced locally, is a huge benefit. Should Trump get his war on in Iran, and the Straits of Hummuz (?) closed and oil rockets up to $7 a gallon, an electric cop car saves millions and can still run during the emergency.

    It’s coming. Sooner than we think.

  22. Teve says:

    @CarolDuhart2: I bought my Ford Fiesta around the time everybody started buying SUVs again. I’m apparently one of the few people who remembers gas at nearly $5 a gallon and knows it will go there in the future again.

    Lotta pressure on Trump right now. Sure would be convenient for “Iran” to do something dastardly…

  23. CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: And that 6 prop Uber drone can connect those tiny rural airstrips and provide air service to places too small/unprofitable for even regional air service. Columbus to Cleveland non-stop? Isolated air strips in Alaska with only LED runway lights and a shed on the end of the runway? Electric planes that can do short hops just might work.

  24. CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Teve: So right. Trump needs something bigger than impeachment to distract from it, and investigating Hillary for the nth time isn’t going to cut it, especially since she’s nowhere near the issue of Ukraine. While Bolton was there, I was worried he might at least be talked into that war-or some other war. But Trump has other evil advisors around him, and they might catch him on a bad day and have him pull the trigger.

    As a former Adminstrative Assistant, and Data Transcriber, I’ve been on the front line watching technological change. When I first started clerical work, it was paper ledgers and carbon paper, when I left and retired, it was because e-filing eliminated the need for paper returns. There just wasn’t enough work for us anymore. When I stared at the IRS, we were doing mostly 1040’s. As people got personal computers and started filing online, we had to consolidate business returns to work year round. As the business returns also became automated-that volume dropped too. And now we are consolidating that down to just 2 places to process the residual paper returns.

    I worked on an assignment during the automated approvals for home loans (we took applications by fax and online), and came back to that same place 6 years later to scan those documents onto a server, pulling out the papers from the now useless paper folders. The buildings that used to have acres of filing cabinets are now being converted into lofts and apartments. Carbon paper still exists, but I’m using it to trace patterns from books onto cards for artwork, and I suspect I’m not alone. Paper ledgers still exist, but mostly for personal books and for technically challenged people like me.

  25. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    A business acquaintance is the motor pool manager for a nearby city police department. That city has a ‘green initiative’ and the PD is looking into electric and hybrid squad cars. Tesla has a program that makes the acquisition cost similar to that of a traditional squad.

    Thanks, dawg — that makes good sense. (It also suggests that Tesla is smart enough to understand the business model of “lose money on the printer, then make a fortune selling toner”.)

  26. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yes, peak torque at zero RPMs

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: Don’t be so hard on the poor dear. He’s probably the guy who believes that you can’t watch TV or cook after dark in a solar powered home, too.

  28. Tyrell says:

    @Teve: NASA and others have been working on ion engine technology and have been successful. Imagine a twenty minute NY – London flight.
    I have not heard if GE is into this or not.
    You can bet the Defense Dept. is working on it; most likely out at Nevada.

  29. gVOR08 says:

    I bet Tesla is working on a software update so the Tesla squad car that can chase down criminals without help from an officer. Not really, but I bet if asked Musk would promise such a thing in six months.

  30. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: Ion propulsion has been a thing for some time now. NASA used ion propulsion in “Deep Space 1” which was launched in 1998. The thing about ion propulsion is that none of the designs that exist can function effectively at sea level. The best I’ve seen is one that could operate at 124 miles above the earth’s surface. They don’t produce much thrust but they do use a lot less fuel than conventional chemical rockets. There are other advantages but they aren’t relevant to this discussion.

    So I’m trying to figure out wtf all that has to do with a 20 minute NY – London flight????