Hyattsville’s Electric Bolt Police Car First in U.S.

Hyattsville’s electric police car was the first of its kind.

When the Hyattsville Police Department added a Chevrolet Bolt to its fleet in September of 2017, it became the first electric patrol vehicle in the state and the first Bolt used as a police car in the country.

Funded in part by a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration, the vehicle had to undergo some modifications before it could start patrolling the streets. The car was equipped with a two-way radio, computer, sirens and lighting.

But in other respects, it was better the a traditional gas-powered police car. The Bolt is much quieter — an advantage when police are looking to be stealthy — it has fewer emissions and it can go from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds.

The vehicle is electronically limited in speed to 90 MPH and its less roomy than other sedans. Another limitation was that the Bolt’s design prevented the installation of a driver-side spotlight used for reading addresses or checking out suspicious vehicles.

Sgt. Richard Hartnett, an electric vehicle enthusiast who drives the Bolt, told the Hyattsville Wire that the benefits of the vehicle far outweigh the costs. 

“There is very low maintenance on the car,” said Hartnett. “[Our experiment was to] see if electric car could suffice as a police car, if it could handle the everyday rigors of police work and its range of the battery would be sufficient to do patrol and then take it home and come back and it has far exceeded that.”

Pending the availability of more grants, Harnett hopes that the department will purchase more vehicles.

The department also purchased an 2017 Zero DSR electric motorcycle that will also be used for patrol and it expected to be on the road by the end of this month.

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