A California police department is adding fuel to the electric car debate after one of its patrol cars, a Tesla Model S, nearly ran out of juice during a vehicle pursuit last week.
It all started on a quiet Friday night in Fremont, when the city’s automated license plate reader system got a hit on a white Toyota Avalon entering the city’s limits and alerted the city’s authorities. The Toyota, wanted in connection with a felony in Santa Clara, was eventually located in an AutoZone parking lot by Fremont Police Officer Jesse Hartman at 11 p.m. on Sept. 20.
That night, Hartman was driving his department’s one and only Tesla patrol car, part of a six-month pilot program the Fremont Police Department was studying in an attempt to reduce emissions and improve efficiency. When the Toyota finally pulled out of the AutoZone parking lot, Hartman attempted to stop the vehicle.
“I lit him up and he is not yielding. We are in pursuit,” Hartman is heard saying over the radio, according to Broadcastify audio obtained by ABC News.
The pursuit then kicked off into a high-speed highway chase toward San Jose. Additional Fremont police officers and California Highway Patrol responded within minutes, as Hartman raced after the suspect at more than 100 miles per hour on Interstate-680 South.
Meanwhile, requests for a CHP helicopter were made and San Jose authorities were notified.
“120 [miles per hour] … light traffic,” one officer said on the radio, police sirens heard ringing in the background.
Then the Tesla alerted Hartman that there was an issue with the vehicle.
“I’m down to 6 miles of battery,” began Hartman. “I may lose it here in a sec. If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?” Hartman asked the other officers on the radio.
CHP took over the pursuit, as the male suspect started to drive erratically and passed over the center divide between the north and southbound lanes.
You can read more at ABC News.