Today’s police agencies rely on a broad spectrum of resources to effectively monitor and prevent crime. While patrol vehicles are the core of any law enforcement department, foot and bicycle patrols play a crucial role in building positive relationships among residents and businesses within the community.
Recently, many agencies have turned to zero-gas emissions, all-electric vehicles that provide the enhanced maneuverability needed for hard-to-access areas and rugged terrain. In response to growing interest in these energy efficient alternatives to policing, industry leaders continue to expand their product line, tap into the global market, and strive to make their products accessible to public safety agencies of all sizes.
In 2000, the concept of T3 Motion, Inc. was founded when an experienced team of engineers, designers and environmental specialists was assembled to focus on creative solutions for individual vehicle travel. Several years later, the T3 Series was launched as an environmentally conscious and job-specific vehicle, with over 600 agencies currently utilizing the T3 for public safety applications.
The T3 Series ESV is an all-electric, zero-emissions green vehicle that is capable of traveling up to 20 mph for rapid response and pursuit. The vehicle features a three-wheel design and low center of gravity that provides enhanced stability for easy operation. Its zero-degree turning radius and streamlined profile allow access to restricted spaces, such as elevators and narrow corridors. The T3’s 9-inch platform, bright lights, and PA / siren package provide officers with high visibility and a commanding presence. With two swappable power modules for convenience and range, the T3 can be charged quickly with virtually no downtime.
The T3 Series ESV can also be equipped with the Motiontrak 330, a compact, vehicle-mounted “black box” unit featuring three-camera video and audio recording that monitors activity both inside and outside the vehicle. Continuous and triggered event recording mode options capture location, g-force and speed, while the built-in GPS system (integrated with Google Maps) tracks precise location and provides a vehicle movement overview.
Sophisticated software allows users to search, play and analyze data, as well as convert the format for presentation. The Motiontrak camera system is an invaluable tool for encouraging safe and efficient driving habits, investigating accidents, decreasing fuel consumption, and reducing insurance claims costs.
In 2006, the University of Southern California’s Department of Public Safety (CAPS) implemented a plan to address the rising incidents of violent crime in the areas surrounding the campus. Part of this crime prevention initiative included equipping eight of the department’s 23 T3 ESVs with Motiontrak 330 recording systems to monitor and patrol a six-mile square that included the campus itself and its environs.
On the first day of deployment, an officer on a T3 ESV responded to a campus disturbance possibly involving intoxicated students that led to allegations of excessive force. The Motiontrak 330 captured the incident on video and, when re-played, indicated no evidence of police misconduct. When the complainant was shown the video, he immediately withdrew the charges. According to CAPS Directors Assistant Mario Cruz, Motiontrak’s ability to record, save, and share all of the information obtained provides the department with vital information that can be stored and reviewed at a later date.
Since the introduction of their Personal Transporter (PT) in 2001, Segway has continued to develop highly efficient transportation solutions using dynamic stabilization technology. Over 1,200 law enforcement agencies worldwide currently use the PT to monitor a variety of environments. The Segway® PT is a green solution that provides officers with high visibility, and allows them to cover a large area at ground level for more effective community policing.
In 2011, the company launched their nationwide “Patrolling Across America” campaign, led by Segway’s Patroller Expert and National Account Manager, Jamie Marsh. The campaign’s goal was to give under-served police departments the opportunity to test ride the Patroller models in their communities for up to two weeks. The caravan consisted of a Segway-wrapped recreational vehicle that functioned as a self-contained mobile office, a Segway-wrapped companion car, and 20 Patrollers. After nine months of traveling across the United States, the tour had logged 36,000 miles and had visited more than 120 police department accounts in 39 states.
“We took the Patroller to the law enforcement community and we were welcomed with open arms. Taking a hands-on approach with officers, offering them the opportunity to learn more about the product, train with it, and evaluate it over a period of time in their own environment was invaluable,” said Marsh. “On occasion, I would encounter a skeptical or misinformed participant. It was wonderful to watch how quickly that person became converted and ultimately took on the role of the department’s PT evangelist.”
Segway is in the process of developing a new Personal Transporter (PT) model, which should be ready for release later this year.
At the Police Fleet Expo – Southwest, Brammo made the first introduction of their Enertia Plus LE motorcycle. This all-electric, zero-emission motorcycle is propelled by a 13kW motor powered by a 6.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It has a top speed of 60 mph and a range of 80 miles. The battery recharge time is 7.5 hours. The battery life is 1500 cycles to 80 percent capacity.
In terms of low-cost, long-term ownership, the Enertia Plus LE costs only $0.01 per mile in fuel based on electricity at $0.11 kwh. It has a very low cost of maintenance since it has no clutch and requires no oil changes. No clutch also makes the Enertia Plus LE easy to operate. The Enertia Plus LE uses a lightweight aluminum frame and Brembo hydraulic brakes and a hydraulic front and rear suspension.
Brammo also introduced their Trial Program. This involves the Enertia Plus LE setup with a standard police lights and siren package, locking saddle bags and generic police markings. The motorcycles are loaned to agencies for use during a specific event, such as a large sporting event, civic parade, extended tourism event, or other large security event. The loan can also be for a specific period of time to allow the agency to determine how the Enertia Plus LE fits the operational needs of the community.
The loan program includes basic training in the Enertia Plus LE motorcycle. If requested, Brammo personnel will be present at the specific events to provide support. At the end of the loan program, Brammo asks that the agency participate in a debrief to frankly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the motorcycle. Suggestions for improvements will be most welcomed and given great consideration.
Oxygen SpA in Italy is exporting their electric battery operated Oxygen CargoScooter to the U.S. This follows a highly successful program in Europe where the Swiss Post utilizes 2000 Oxygen CargoScooters, making Oxygen SpA the largest supplier of battery operated scooters for professional use. Oxygen CargoScooters are recharged from a simple electrical outlet and can save up to 90 percent on energy costs versus fuel powered scooters.
The CargoScooter can be equipped with options in using two, three or four batteries, where distances of 75 miles on a single charge can be covered, and acceleration will enable the vehicle to get to 25 mph in six seconds. Featuring a cargo capacity of up to 200 pounds, a trailer can be added to the back as well.
The use of the CargoScooter is best exemplified in Switzerland where the Swiss Post utilizes the vehicles throughout the country. In addition to its impressive capacity to handle heavy loads, Swiss standards for environmentally safe vehicles are extremely high, and it was both the environmental benefits as well as the exceptional technological capabilities of the CargoScooter that influenced the Swiss government’s decision. The original CargoScooter fleet for the Swiss Post consisted of 250 vehicles. The current fleet numbers over 2,000.
“We are confident that U.S. industry, like the Swiss Post, will recognize the practicality, sustainability and economics that the Oxygen CargoScooter can offer. Since the vehicles work off an electrical charge, the fuel savings will quickly offset the initial investment,” noted Peter Laitmon, CEO of Oxygen World, Inc. Oxygen World is the North American subsidiary of Oxygen SpA, located in Padua, Italy. Oxygen SpA was formed in 2000 and is an outgrowth of Atala, the Italian company, which had its origins in the bicycle industry as far back as 1921.
Xtreme Green Products
Xtreme Green Products, Inc. (XGP) is a Las Vegas-based company that offers a full line of 100 percent electric vehicles for a broad range of markets. All XGP products are designed with proprietary energy management and electric propulsion systems that deliver the power and capabilities of gas-powered engines without the particulate and noise pollution, and leaves no carbon footprint. Their line of electric vehicles include ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, scooters, and three-wheel security vehicles that have the latest technology and battery systems to ensure optimal battery life, power, and range.
While the United States is Xtreme Green’s primary market, the company entered into its first international distribution contract on Sept. 1, 2012 by signing a 16-month agreement with the Mexico City-based company AB Safe SA De CV. As per the agreement, AB Safe will distribute XGP electric vehicles, scooters, motorcycles and utility trucks to individuals, companies and government agencies in 29 states and the Federal District in Mexico (all states except for Yucatán and Jalisco). The agreement with AB Safe covers 16 percent of its projected production capacity for 2012, or 192 units.
Later that month, the company also signed a two-year master distribution agreement with ISP, a Puerto Rico-based distributor of industrial security products for both public and private entities. The agreement gives ISP the exclusive rights to distribute all five of the XGP 100 percent electric off-road and highway-approved vehicles, based on achieving sales of 10 vehicles per month through the end of 2012. The agreed-upon target number of monthly vehicle sales outlined in the agreement represents approximately 12 percent of Xtreme Green’s projected 2012 production capacity.
Neil Roth, Xtreme Green Product’s President and Chief Operating Officer, said, “Between the distribution agreement for Mexico announced in early September and this distribution agreement for Puerto Rico, 28 percent of our planned production of 1,000 vehicles for 2012 is spoken for by the targeted terms of the agreements. Between these agreements and others we are negotiating, we expect over 50 percent of our planned 2012 production to be covered by a distribution agreement prior to being manufactured.” Xtreme Green’s plans for 2012 include expansion into the European, Australian, South American and Middle Eastern markets.
Since 1999, Diggler has been developing scooters designed to tackle the harshest terrain at speeds of up to 30 mph. Comprised of the same components as a mountain bike, the Diggler allows the rider to center his / her weight between the scooter’s wheels for optimum stability, even at high speeds. Specifically designed for law enforcement, the Diggler Electric Patrol Scooter provides officers with the maneuverability needed to cover more ground quietly and efficiently.
The Patroller is available in two models: the Cruiser and the Elite Cruiser. With a 600W motor and a powerful 48 Volt system, the Cruiser offers fast acceleration, and is an ideal all-around scooter. Weighing in at only 90 pounds, it is priced at $1,999. The Elite Cruiser features a 48-Volt/40 Amp with High-Powered 750W motor and offers maximum acceleration and speed. A great uphill climber, the Elite Cruiser weighs 100 pounds and is priced at $2,499. Both models can travel up to 20 miles on one charge, and come with a replaceable battery pack and maintenance-free chainless drive train.
The Trikke™ electric three-wheeled vehicle features a standing “active riding” platform in which riders use their body weight to comfortably maneuver around curves and turns. Weighing in at only 46 pounds, the Trikke™ EV 48v is light enough to load into the trunk of a patrol car, making it the ideal choice for law enforcement applications. The police version of the vehicle, known as the Tribred Patrol, comes with siren and lights, as well as a carry bag and special logos.
Featuring three-point stability with a sturdy patented cambering frame, the EV 48v allows police officers to cover their patrol routes more effectively. The Trikke™ EV 36v is built on the same frame as the 48v, but has a shorter battery span, and a 250-watt hub motor as opposed to a 350-watt. At 42 pounds the 36v is lighter than the 48v, and takes five hours to charge.
Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.