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Forces battle for Tesla test

Three forces are vying for the chance to road test a pioneering electric car in a bid to prove their green credentials.

A Police and Crime Commissioner is lobbying for his force to try out the rapid £60,000 Tesla Model 3 on a long-term test.

But traffic officers at Northamptonshire are challenging him to be in poll position with Surrey officers also trying to put the brakes on his bid.

Cleveland PCC Steve Turner has written to Tesla UK arguing that the force's mix of urban and rural areas make it an ideal place to test the new model.

He said: “I am passionate about exploring new technical opportunities to assist the hard working, front line officers who I see every day putting their lives on the line to keep our communities safe.

“As a forward thinking and innovative company, Tesla is leading the way in zero emission technology and I would very much like Cleveland Police to be a part of this journey by trialling the Model 3 in Cleveland.”

He added: “I feel that the geographically small nature of the area together with the high demand the local police face makes Cleveland the perfect location to trial the Model 3.”

Several forces in the United States have added the car to their fleets but so far no UK force has committed.

A version of the car is currently available for trial and assessment to emergency services across the UK. The car, in full livery and lights, was on display at the British Grand Prix earlier this month.

It boasts a Ferrari-beating 0-60mph time of 3.1 seconds, a top speed of 162mph and a range of 360 miles.

Features include a 542-litre boot and a 15-inch touchscreen that control most of the Model 3’s functions including a 14-speaker audio system.

Keeping it on the road is a separate charging network and over the wire software updates.

But it comes with a £60,000 price tag.

And established manufacturers BMW and Ford are also making inroads into the all-electric vehicle market.

Cleveland has some competition: Surrey’s traffic officers are also hoping the manufacturer will assist with their enquiries and Northamptonshire’s officers believe they deserve to road test top gear.

Surrey’s roads policing unit shared on social media: “Good luck to Tesla as they enter the challenging Emergency Services sector in the UK. Would be interesting to get a Long Range (ok, Performance) Model 3 to long term test (Paging [Chief Constable] Gavin Stephens).”

Also interested is Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable Nick Adderley, who restores classic cars in his spare time and has already had feedback from officers who borrowed the vehicle for a road safety display at the British Grand Prix.

But the force recently splashed out on a new 4x4 to help tackle rural crime and he admitted that the force’s Head of transport, Travel Stores is a formidable obstacle likely to veto a purchase request.

He admitted on social media: “I’ve more chance of getting the keys to Jeff Bezos’ spaceship.”

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