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Tesla police car nearly runs out of power during chase in California

Phil Helsel
Tesla S85 Fremont Police car
Source: Fremont Police

A San Francisco-area police department says it still has full faith in a pilot program to use a Tesla electric patrol car, even though the vehicle reportedly ran low on power last week during a pursuit.

The East Bay Times newspaper reported that a Fremont police officer in the Tesla Model S, which the department bought in March, became involved in a police pursuit Friday but radioed dispatch to say that the electric vehicle warned that it had only 6 miles of battery life left and that he may not be able to continue in the chase.

Fremont police spokesperson Geneva Bosques told NBC Bay Area that the Tesla was not fully charged at the beginning of the officer's shift at 2 p.m. and that the pursuit didn't begin until around 11 p.m.

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"This one instance does not in any way change our feeling regarding the performance of the vehicle for patrol purposes," Bosques told the station.

"The officer was monitoring the charge and responsibly notifying every one of its status during the approximate 10-mile pursuit," Bosques said. The department had other police vehicles behind the Tesla to take over the chase, and the California Highway Patrol was also responding, according to the department.

The chase was called off, and the highway patrol later found the suspect's car abandoned in San Jose, according to the station.

That car was wanted in connection with a crime in Santa Clara and a felony warrant has been issued for the driver, who has not been found, according to NBC Bay Area.

Bosques told the station that Friday's incident was the second pursuit involving the Tesla, and that "so far the car is meeting or exceeding our expectations."

"We are still in our first six months of the pilot program and we're keeping track of all the data," Bosques said.

Fremont is a city of around 214,000 in the Bay Area southeast of San Francisco.

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