The EV revolution has spread to police departments. More and more police officers are looking to convert their internal combustion engine (ICE) cars into EVs to save money and protect the environment. Model PD, a company based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is helping satisfy this desire by converting Tesla Model Ys into patrol cars.


In a recent YouTube video, Model PD’s president Zak Wilson provided an in-depth look at the modifications made to a Tesla Model Y. Exterior changes include a push bumper with integrated lights, steel wheels with heavy-duty tires, and a carbon fiber roof. The carbon fiber roof allows for the installation of police-specific accessories such as light bars and antennas. 


The interior of the vehicle undergoes significant modifications as well, including:

• retrofitting the seats with a Cordura material to prevent tearing

• replacing carpets with vinyl rubber flooring for greater cleanliness 

• adding cages and cargo areas


Model PD has integrated a Windows-based police user interface into the Model Y’s center screen. This allows officers to manually switch between the Tesla interface and the police interface.


Wilson conceded that converting a Tesla Model Y into a patrol car is more expensive than converting an equivalent ICE vehicle. However, he estimated that law enforcement agencies will recoup the additional cost within two years due to savings on operational expenses. With a low risk of drivetrain issues, the Model Y is expected to have an operational lifespan of 10 years, leading to major cost savings over the long run. 


There has been a significant increase in police interest in EVs in 2023. In May, the police department in South Pasadena, California, became the first department in the US to replace its entire ICE fleet with EVs. Besides the environmental benefits and cost savings, EVs function better than ICE cars in high-speed chases, as they offer faster acceleration. 


Some police departments have rejected EVs due to concerns that they are too oriented toward traditional passengers. However, Model PD’s retrofits show that the Tesla Model Y is a perfect choice for police cruisers. If Tesla begins producing a variation of the Model Y that’s specifically designed for police departments, it could further boost its sales. 



Image and video source: Edward Pennington Calderhead