Bargersville Police: Our Tesla Fleet Saves $80,000 a Year in Gas

Bargersville, a town south of Indianapolis in Johnson County, is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution. However, local officials emphasize that the switch from traditional gas-powered police cruisers to all-electric Teslas is driven by financial savings rather than environmental concerns.

“It’s all about the money,” said Police Chief Todd Bertram to WRTV. “We started the program because I needed two officers.”

The Bargersville Police Department now operates 13 Tesla police cruisers. According to Bertram, these electric vehicles save about $80,000 annually in fuel costs compared to their gasoline counterparts. The town’s first Tesla police car was purchased in 2019, and since then, 12 more have been added to the fleet.

“It was a risk in the very beginning, but it’s proven now,” Bertram said.

The significant savings on fuel have allowed the town to hire two additional officers. Bargersville has seen growth and has added about six officers since acquiring its first Tesla.

While Teslas cost more upfront than traditional police vehicles like the Dodge Charger or Ford Crown Victoria, Clerk Treasurer Dustin Doyle noted that the savings on fuel offset the initial expense within three years.

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

In 2018, Bargersville spent $54,000 on gasoline for police cars. By 2023, despite adding six new police cars, the town’s fuel expenditure dropped to approximately $31,000.

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

Officers have responded positively to the Teslas, including Officer Cody St. John, who drives a 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, a new officer who joined Bargersville a year ago after serving with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, praised the Tesla’s comfort and efficiency.

“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.

Despite the success of the electric vehicles, Bargersville’s fleet still includes six gas-powered trucks and SUVs, which cost about $2,900 per month in fuel. In contrast, electricity for the 13 Teslas costs approximately $600 per 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.”