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Menlo Park council OKs pilot to test Teslas as police vehicles

Original post made on Nov 10, 2021

As part of a move to curb the city's carbon footprint, the Menlo Park City Council recently agreed to purchase a number of new hybrid and electric vehicles for the city's police and public works departments, including three Teslas.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 12:12 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 10, 2021 at 9:41 pm

Enough is a registered user.

I find it interesting that Wolosin and Taylor opposed this as they are two of the council members in favor of forcing residents to remove gas appliances in their homes. It is a case of "Do what we say, not what we do?"

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 11, 2021 at 7:42 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.

" It is a case of "Do what we say, not what we do?"

Yes. Some on the council are very good at this. My question is what happened to "saving the world"?

Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 11, 2021 at 1:26 pm

CyberVoter is a registered user.

Really? Buying Tesla's is going to "Save the World"? Is it really a great use of Menlo Park resident's tax dollars? Will mining the earth for Lithium, building Solar Panels in China, shipping them to the USA, building mega Solar Farms in the Central Valley & Desert, constructing more Hi Voltage Electric Distribution lines from there to the peninsula (a major source of wildfires) make our planet net/net cleaner?

Menlo Park Council should focus on what its residents really want & it is not "Virtue Signaling" at the expense of solving the real local problems! The Council was hired to ensure local security, safely and quality of life. Please "Protect and Serve" and do what is possible to make the area more affordable instead.

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 11, 2021 at 5:07 pm

MenloVoter. is a registered user.


I'm with you on this. I'm surprised they didn't want to buy Teslas. They're the same ones that want to "save the world" by forcing all electric appliances down everyone's throats.

Posted by Ronen
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 11, 2021 at 5:44 pm

Ronen is a registered user.

Kudos to the council. I'm all for this. We need to electrify everything and all city vehicles should be electric where possible.

While some of the commenters on this post oppose home electrification I'm 100% in favor. We just need to make sure the right incentives are in place to make this affordable.

Climate change is the challenge of our generation. Some want to hide from it because it doesn't align with their politics or their lifestyle, but sticking our head in the sand won't prevent global disaster.

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 11, 2021 at 6:47 pm

MenloVoter. is a registered user.


The 12,000 households of Menlo Park electrifying won't even move the needle on the worlds climate or CO2 levels. Until China, India and Russia do something to reduce their carbon footprint anything 12,000 households do is nothing more than virtue signaling. Virtue signaling that will cost a lot of people a lot of money.

Posted by Ivan
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 11, 2021 at 8:05 pm

Ivan is a registered user.

The Mustang Mach E is Ford's pure electric car, it is *not* a hybrid

Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 12, 2021 at 10:01 am

kbehroozi is a registered user.

@ MV, Enough, etc.–do y'all ever get tired of the constant political outrage? I have been waiting–for YEARS, in some cases–to see you give someone else the benefit of the doubt, or seek to understand. The anonymous armchair quarterbacking is so relentlessly toxic. And what good does it do? Do you feel happier after posting? Do you think the opinions that you express here are making an impact on council decisions?

You're clearly interested in local policy, and you follow it quite closely. Here's an idea: actually meet a council member–any/all of them–for coffee or a beer. Tell them what matters to you. Tell them what you're worried about. Tell them what you'd like to see change. And maybe listen to their perspective as well. I have no doubt you'd find things to admire in each of them, as well as points of agreement. Remember, too, that they are human. They are parents, siblings, children, neighbors. They are also people who decided to forgo fun hobbies or coaching Little League and instead spend a huge percentage of their time trying to serve their communities in an utterly thankless and draining job that most people don't understand and wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole if they did understand. Most are not politically ambitious (and if they were–so what?) Each of them wakes up in the morning and hopes to have a good day and do the right thing, or the least wrong thing. They are doing this for us. It is exhausting. They need our help, and this is not helpful.

Arthur Brooks has been writing recently about our national addiction to contempt, and its deleterious affect on our health, our sense of community, and ultimately our democracy. Web Link I would like to see more civil disagreement and honest efforts to find common ground in our own community. Can you help?

Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 12, 2021 at 11:31 am

Enough is a registered user.


So you don't believe in free speech? You decide what is OK for other people to say or not say? I am pretty disappointed in stance, especially from someone who represents the city on a commission. This is an open forum and I personally intend to use it as such. You might note that I do not personally attack others (something you might think about). Let's try to keep these discussions above petty criticisms of others and on topic.

"I would like to see more civil disagreement and honest efforts to find common ground in our own community. Can you help?"
I personally find this funny and a little hypocritical after what you posted above. I think posters like MenloVoter Cybervoter and others are being completely civil. I would love to hear you point out how disagreeing with a position in a public forum is not civil. I think attacking those that do is more of the problem. If you don't like the opinions expressed please feel free to respond in a civil manner or just ignore them but please refrain from personal attacks.

Thank you

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 12, 2021 at 1:22 pm

MenloVoter. is a registered user.


I realize these people are everything you say, but I also understand that they have a great deal to say about what our local government does. What I object to is the apparent blind belief that they are right and what they are pushing is the right thing to do regardless of what other people say. I also object when they want to spend our tax money on something that will have absolutely NO effect. AS I've said it is virtue signaling and may make them feel good, but IMO, they're throwing our tax dollars away doing it. In my mind it's nonsense and I have very little patience for it. We elected our council to deal with issues in our city. The mundane stuff like potholes, zoning, development issues, etc., NOT saving the world. They need to stick to what they were elected to do.

Posted by menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 12, 2021 at 1:44 pm

menlo mom is a registered user.

Did I miss something in the article, or did it somewhere say whether or not these were vehicles that had been on the slate to be replaced. If we set aside the Tesla test program, and focus only on the other cars, it appears that we are replacing six police vehicles and "a number of" other public works vehicles at a cost of $1.6 million. So.....were these due to be replaced as a matter of course and the city decided to go electric rather than gas? If so....what is the difference in cost? It's kind of relavent. Was this budgeted for? And what does "a number of" amount to? If the Tesla police cars cost $108,000-$116,000 to trick out as police cars, I'm assuming that Ford Mustangs will be cheaper. So let's say they cost $100,000 each. That's $600,000 for the police cars. That means we just spent $1M on electric public works cars? Huh??

We can argue about gas vs electric, but there are many other larger questions not answered here.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 12, 2021 at 2:50 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Interesting conversation. I think I'll throw in my two cents. My first reaction when I read the article was it looked like a waste of money. Then after thinking about it for a little bit this actually might be a fiscally responsible move if they needed to replace existing models already. I have to assume the police cars drive a lot of miles since they're in use the majority of the day driving around the city. With the cost of gas being what it is, having an electric vehicle would greatly reduce the annual fuel cost. Given the number of solar panels the city has already installed powering these vehicles is already paid for. There is also the benefit that electric vehicles have a much lower maintenance cost. This means that over the life of the vehicle it may actually be cheaper to operate electric vehicles than gas powered vehicles. I don't know the purchase price difference between the gas powered police vehicles and the Tesla's and that might make the difference, but it is possible, even probable, that this decision is in the best fiscal interest of the city. One thing I didn't read or was not clear to me was the reason 2 council members opposed it. Does anyone know?

Posted by menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 12, 2021 at 3:05 pm

menlo mom is a registered user.

Brian, you raise some good points. Another thought occurred to me after I posted my questions above. I wonder if the funds used were allocated by the state from Covid relief funds. That could explain the timing, and I think it is a good use of funds...especially after having read your thoughts...If that is the case.

That said, there are still many unanswered questions.

Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 15, 2021 at 1:37 pm

CyberVoter is a registered user.

Menlo Mom & Brian: To be clear, I am a real supporter of the Police (& other Gov'ts) using Hybrids & Electric Vehicles when appropriate. Towns/Cities with limited acreage (such as on the Peninsula) make the most sense. However,I have two caveats:

1) By far the most pollution from vehicles comes from their initial manufacturing (see Bill Gate's latest book)
- Thus the longer they are kept in service the better for the environment
- I drive a 15 year-old Toyota with > 100,000 miles & it is very dependable & still attractive
- I suspect that we actually change vehicles more than necessary when some minor work would keep them looking & working like new
2) The Town has a fiduciary responsibility to spend the taxpayers money in the best fashion
- It is hard for me to believe that a Tesla is a better financial investment than a Bolt, Electric Mustang SUV, or any of the many, many lesser priced hybrid & all electric vehicles that are available
- When my friends on the East Coast heard that Menlo Park was getting Tesla's as Police cars they had the predictable reaction to the "over the top affluence" in the area!

Get the Hybrids & Electric vehicles, but pass on the Teslas!

Posted by sjtaffee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 15, 2021 at 4:35 pm

sjtaffee is a registered user.

I see no problem with the City moving the PD to hybrid cars. I would, however, oppose a move to all electric. Here's why:

1. the electrical lode in a police car is much higher than that of a standard automobile given the all of the on-board electronics.
2. Patrol cards are often left locked but running for long periods o time at crime scenes, traffic stops, and so on, and at that point they need a way to keep batteries topped-off lest they completely run out of juice.
3. High-speed chases in a town like MP are relatively rare, so the need for huge engines capable of running at high rpms for long periods of time are much less than they might be for a sheriff's department or highway patrol car. Given our urban density and mutual aid agreements with other PDs, we can ask for assistance if and when a chase needs to go into another jurisdiction.

There mat be a time, and I hope there is, where all electric vehicles are up to the tasks of an everyday patrol car. And I suspect for traffic enforcement and community service officers they may work right now. But I think hybrids or electrics with gasoline generators onboard are they way to go for most cop cars.

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