West Shore Mounties Going Electric with Tesla and Mustang
Mounties at the West Shore RCMP detachment will be the first in Canada to start regular patrols and front-line police work in marked Tesla electric cars.
The detachment will also introduce a Ford Mustang Mach-E GT into its fleet at some point this year for testing.
Todd Preston, officer in charge of the detachment, said two Tesla Model Y vehicles are being outfitted in Ottawa and will be on the streets of Langford, Colwood, Highlands, View Royal, Metchosin and the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations within a few months.
“They are super-peppy vehicles and can go 500 kilometres on one charge,” Preston said Thursday in Langford, where the city unveiled plans for the Island’s first Tesla sales, service and delivery centre — a 35,000-square-foot facility that is expected to be completed by June 2023.
“Our officers couldn’t be more excited about this,” Preston said of the electric cars.
He said while West Shore RCMP is the first force in Canada to use Teslas for front-line policing and day-to-day use, about 30 departments in the U.S. are already using them.
The RCMP, which has just over 10,000 police vehicles, with a turnover of about 1,500 per year, has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Preston said the Tesla Model Y is roomy and powerful and will be outfitted with all the equipment officers will need, including special bumpers and attachments to affix the light bars over the vehicle’s glass roof.
Tesla said its Model Y has all-wheel drive with two independent electric motors that digitally control torque to the front and rear wheels for better handling, traction and stability control, adding the vehicle can function off-road.
Heather Kellington of the Tesla Owners of Vancouver Island — who drives a new Model Y — was asked if the cars are powerful enough for police pursuits.
“If you’re a passenger, hold onto your cup of coffee,” she said. “(The acceleration) does throw you back in your seat.”
The 3.6-acre Tesla facility is being built on the edge of Seacliff Properties’ 50-acre site on City Gate Boulevard, across from Costco, where a small mountain has been shaved off the landscape for nine separate condominium developments.
All but one of the sites is sold. The first site under construction, by Kelowna-based High Street Ventures, sold out 225 units in less than a year online without a showroom, said Jeany Lee, director of acquisitions and asset management for Seacliff.
Lee said the company is leasing Tesla the land and custom-building the facility. She said it’s Tesla’s first custom-built store in Canada. The current 21 stores across the country were built from previous auto dealerships, she added.
Lee said Langford’s Tesla store will include service bays and a showroom where the company will be able to display all its models in multiple colours. There will also be a large parking lot and room to show more vehicles, she said.
Mayor Stew Young estimates the building to be worth $40 million to $50 million, and said the Tesla store will create up to 50 full-time jobs.
The Tesla brand will bring other opportunities to Langford, said Dale Gann, chairman of Langford’s Economic Development Committee.
He said Langford is hoping the new Tesla facility will attract the attention of the company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, founder of Space X and a serial early-stage investor in multiple tech businesses.
“When you build something like this, something else will come in research and development, other tech companies,” said Gann, noting he’s already talking with the mayor about pursuing other opportunities with Musk’s companies.
Tesla sells its vehicles online and delivers them to its nearest stores. In Victoria’s case, that’s always been Vancouver.
For Tesla owners on the Island, the Langford store will make it easier to access repairs and new vehicles. They’ve been relying on Tesla “rangers,” mobile technicians, and have had to tow their vehicles to Vancouver via flatdeck trucks for major repairs.
“I’ve been waiting for this for over five years,” said Kellington. “It’s very exciting for the Tesla owners.”
Glenn Garry, board member of the Victoria EV Association, said two-thirds of the estimated 4,000-plus electric vehicles on the Island are Tesla models. He said those numbers are growing, so it makes sense for Tesla to set up a base in the area.
Young said charging stations are increasing across Langford, including four stations at the RCMP detachment, as the city works to convert its fleet of 20 vehicles to electric by 2027.
“It’s part of our official community plan that every new [condo] building now has to be wired for electric charging,” said Young. “As we build higher, all parking stations will have access to charging.”
Mike Reilly, past president of West Shore Chamber of Commerce, said the Tesla brand is a big win for Langford, bringing growth, jobs, and economical and ethical travel for residents.