Photo at left: Police Chief Foti Koskinas with the electric-powered motorcycle recently acquired by the Police Department; at right, an electric all-terrain vehicle, another recent addition to the police EV fleet. / Contributed photos

WESTPORT — Advocates for a greener Westport are saluting the Police Department’s “drive” for greater sustainability.

Sustainable Westport, which promotes recycling and reducing Westporters’ carbon footprint, credits local police for expanding use of electric vehicles.

The Police Department recently added two more electric-powered vehicles to its fleet — an all-terrain utility vehicle and a motorcycle. 

And a new Tesla patrol car — the department’s third — is expected to be delivered this summer.

“Kudos to the Westport police for continuing to be a leader amongst police departments and municipalities nationwide,” Sustainable Westport said in a statement Monday. 

Adding more electric-powered police vehicles, the group said, “is environmentally friendly and cost-effective,” noting that EVs now cost less to acquire, fuel and maintain than gas-powered alternatives, and are proving to be more durable.

The new all-terrain utility vehicle, primarily used in town parks, is powered by six 12-volt batteries that last between eight to 12 hours, according to Sustainable Westport. It resembles a golf cart, but can traverse various kinds of terrain and features a winch for towing.

The electric motorcycle replaces a Harley, and will be used for parking and traffic enforcement. The “Zero” motorcycle  brand features advanced technology and long-range capabilities, Sustainable Westport said. The motorcycle is rated for a range of 183 miles in the city and 85 miles on the highway, which Police Chief Foti Koskinas confirmed has been recorded during its first weeks of use.

Westport police have ordered a 2023 Tesla Model Y patrol car, joining the department’s two other Tesla electric-powered cruisers. 

The Police Department’s latest electric-powered vehicles will add to an EV fleet that already includes two Tesla patrol cars (Models 3 and Y), a Toyota Prius Prime hybrid, BMW i3 and Honda Clarity sedans, and a Ford Interceptor hybrid patrol vehicle.

The Prius is used by traffic agents for beach patrols, traffic enforcement and storm coverage, according to Lt. Eric Woods, the police spokesman. 

Before acquiring the Prius for those duties in 2007, police used a Ford Crown Victoria, which consumed eight to 10 gallons of gas per eight-hour shift, Woods said. The Prius is able to complete the eight-hour shift on battery power alone, he said.

The BMW i3 was donated to police by a Sustainable Westport member, Woods said, The electric vehicle, which is used for security at Staples High School, conforms with the school district’s policy banning idling by gas-powered vehicles, he noted.

A 2023 Tesla Model Y has been ordered by the Police Department, Woods said, noting that its current Model Y patrol car is generally used for two eight-hour shifts daily.

The Tesla patrol cars are saving the town money, according to Sustainable Westport, citing a recent analysis conducted by the EV Club of Connecticut.

The study found that the department’s first Tesla Model 3 patrol car, purchased for $52,000 in 2019, is projected to save $50,000 over four years compared to a standard gas-powered Ford Explorer patrol vehicle, which then cost $37,000. The study based its findings on the Tesla’s savings for fuel, maintenance and customization, Sustainable Westport said.

The Tesla patrol cars also are expected to remain in service from two to four years longer than the usual four years’ use for the Fords, according to the study. 

And the current cost of Tesla patrol cars makes them a financially attractive alternative to gas-powered vehicles — the study estimates a $37,990 price tag for a new Model Y, when current rebates and incentives are factored into the $47,740 purchase price.