A police officer in Fremont was driving the department’s Tesla Model S patrol car Friday night when, according to a report from the East Bay Times, he became involved in a vehicle pursuit – and then received warning that he only had about six miles of battery life left.
Officer Jesse Hartman radioed into dispatch to inform them of his predicament and to let them know that he may not be able to continue the pursuit, which had begun in Fremont and included speeds up to 120 miles per hour, the East Bay Times reported.
The East Bay Times reported that it wasn’t long after Hartman requested assistance that the suspect vehicle began driving on the shoulder, dangerously passing traffic, so the department called off the chase.
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CHP officers later found the suspect vehicle abandoned in San Jose. Police said the car was wanted in connection with a crime in Santa Clara.
A felony warrant has been issued for the driver, who has yet to be located.
The Tesla was not fully charged at the beginning of Hartman's shift, which began at 2 p.m. and the pursuit begain around 11 p.m., Fremont Police spokesperson Geneva Bosques said, adding that when the Tesla is fully charged it usually has about 40 to 50% of battery left coming at the end of a shift.
"It happens from time to time, especially if an officer returns to the station to take a report and then they never go back out in the street," Bsoques said about why the vehicle wasn't fully charged in an e-mail to NBC Bay Area. "The officer was monitoring the charge and responsibly notifying every one of its status during the approximate 10 mile pursuit. We had other units behind the Tesla in the pursuit to take over and CHP was also responding. Pursuits on the freeway are usually pretty short in duration, as we turn them over to CHP as soon as they get to our location."
Back in March, the Fremont police department purchased the Tesla as part of a pilot program aimed at measuring the vehicle’s efficiency to see if it would be a good fit for law enforcement use.
"This is the second pursuit the Tesla has performed well in. This one instance does not in any way change our feeling regarding the performance of the vehicle for patrol purposes," Bosques said. "So far the car is meeting or exceeding our expectations. We are still in our first 6 months of the pilot program and we’re keeping track of all the data."