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Bargersville says Tesla police cars save $80k a year in fuel costs

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Posted at 6:29 PM, May 20, 2024

BARGERSVILLE — The town of Bargersville, located just south of Indianapolis in Johnson County, is a leader in the electric vehicle revolution.

But officials here say swapping out gas-guzzling police cruisers for all-electric Teslas is more about saving green than going green.

"It's all about the money," Police Chief Todd Bertram said. "We started the program, because I needed two officers."

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The Bargersville Police Department has13 Tesla police cruisers. Chief Todd Bertram says the electric vehicles save about $80,000 a year in fuel costs compared to gasoline police cars.

The town bought its first Tesla police car in 2019 and has since added a dozen more.

Bertram says Bargersville’s fleet of 13 Tesla police cars saves taxpayers about $80,000 a year in fuel costs compared to gas-powered police vehicles.

"It was a risk in the very beginning but it's proven now," Bertram said.

The town is saving enough on fuel to pay for two additional officers. Bargersville is growing and has added about a half dozen officers since it bought its first Tesla.

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Bargersville Police Officer Cody St. John drives one of the department's 13 Tesla police cruisers.

Teslas cost more than a Dodge Charger or Ford Crown Victoria, but Clerk Treasurer Dustin Doyle said the money saved on fuel makes up the difference in less than three years.

"If it benefits the environment, fantastic," Doyle said. "But this benefits our taxpayers in the sense that we're saving money and we're being fiscally responsible with their money."

In 2018, Bargersville spent $54,000 on gas for police cars. By 2023, the town added six new police cars but spent about $31,000 on fuel, Doyle said.

"When we run those Chargers to the end of their life on a police force, we're lucky to get $3,000 to $5,000 trade value for them," he said.

"We just traded our first car in this year and we got $17,500 for a 2019 Tesla."

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Bargersville Police Officer Cody St. John.

Officers like driving the Teslas, Bertram said.

That includes Officer Cody St. John, who said he has no problem fitting his 6-foot, 2-inch frame into his department-issued Tesla Model Y.

"I have no issues with it," St. John said. "I fit in this car. Plenty of legroom, plenty of room for everything else."

St. John is one of the new officers. He joined Bargersville a year ago after serving four years with IMPD and seven years with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.

"At first it took a little getting used to, but now if I have to get a tire replaced or something like that on this car and I'm in a gas car again, I can't wait for my car to come back," St. John said.

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Bargersville Police Officer Cody St. John drives one of the department's 13 Tesla police cruisers. Chief Todd Bertram says the electric vehicles save about $80,000 a year in fuel costs compared to gasoline police cars.

Bargersville officers still have six gas trucks and SUVs in their fleet. Those vehicles burn through about $2,900 dollars a month in gas, Chief Bertram said.

Electricity for the 13 Teslas costs about $600 a month.

"It's working, it saves a lot of money," Bertram said. "And I have to think there's a lot of agencies in the country that are like mine, that it would work for."

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The Bargersville Police Department has13 Tesla police cruisers. Chief Todd Bertram says the electric vehicles save about $80,000 a year in fuel costs compared to gasoline police cars.

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on X/Twitter: @vicryc.