South Pasadena’s police cars will soon all be Teslas

Photo of several white cars
South Pasadena’s Police Department will use Tesla Model Y and Model 3 vehicles.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

South Pasadena’s police car fleet is expected to go fully electric by the start of next year.

The city is leasing 20 Teslas through Enterprise for at least five years for police patrol duties, administration and detective work. Some vehicles are already in use, Deputy City Manager Domenica Megerdichian said, while others used for patrol must still be properly outfitted.

Nearly $2 million in city funds was allotted to the leasing agreement, which includes 10 Tesla Model Y vehicles and 10 Tesla Model 3 vehicles, according to City Council agenda reports. The city also received $500,000 in funding from a committee that works to reduce vehicle pollution in the South Coast region.


More than 30 charging ports, including some for public use, will be installed at South Pasadena City Hall parking lots in partnership with Southern California Edison.

“We have been investigating this transition for five to six years and determined that these electric vehicles will be the best operationally for us,” South Pasadena Police Chief Brian Solinsky said in a statement. “They are the safest and fastest vehicles and will save the city money in lower maintenance and fueling costs.”

Councilmember Michael Cacciotti, who championed the transition to electric vehicles, said that South Pasadena had “a long history of supporting clean air vehicles and transition to clean air equipment,” citing the city’s conversion to electric lawn equipment in 2016 for city grounds and parks maintenance.

Cacciotti, who bought the first-generation Prius about 20 years ago, said that South Pasadena is the first city in the country to fully convert a police car fleet to electric vehicles.

“We’re setting the gold standard for the United States, and probably the world,” he said.

Megerdichian said that South Pasadena, which covers 3.4 square miles and houses one of the Gold Line Metro stops, is “environmentally conscious” and has long taken steps to be more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. The city expects to save more than $300,000 per vehicle over the next 10 years in fuel and maintenance costs.

The City Council approved the move in September, and expects the electric vehicle transition to be fully in place by next February.


Megerdichian says most of the city’s police vehicles are ready to be replaced and will be turned in or will go to auction.