Fremont Police Tesla Runs Low on Juice While Chasing Suspect

By Victor Westerkamp

Fremont Police Department’s Tesla Model S 85 showpiece was forced to give up a chase as its battery power depleted at the worst moment—when pursuing a suspect.

Police officer Hartman was driving alone in the department’s only 2014 Tesla’s when he approached the Jacklin Road exit on Interstate 680 southbound in Milpitas, California. He spotted a vehicle possibly connected with a crime committed in Santa Clara.

The officer tried to stop the suspect who failed to oblige, and a pursuit ensued on Friday, Sept. 22, Mercury News reported.

“Just realized I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla, so I may lose it here in a sec,” the officer driving the Tesla said, according to Fremont Police dispatch audio obtained via Broadcastify.

Tesla Model S
Brand new Tesla Model S cars sit in front of a Tesla showroom in Corte Madera, California, on Aug. 2, 2017. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?” Hartman said over the radio.

Other units took over the chase aided by the California State Highway Patrol, but had to let go of the runaway vehicle that had taken to the middle median where it was no longer safe to pursue him.

A short time later, the fugitive car was found crashed in some bushes by Highway Patrol officers close to San Jose. The suspect remains on the loose.

The officer driving the Tesla needed to charge up the car’s batteries in San Jose before he could make the trip back to Fremont. “I’ve got to try to find a charging station for the Tesla so I can make it back to the city,” he was recorded saying.

Fremont spokesperson Geneva Bosques said she did not know why the Tesla gave up at such an inopportune moment, but it is likely the vehicle was not fully charged before its shift.

The city of Fremont houses Tesla’s main manufacturing plant. The Police Department of Fremont made headlines as the first in the nation to test an all-electric Tesla car for police usage.

The department has been optimistic about the Tesla’s past performance, according to an FPD spokesperson, roadshow reported—but you have to plug them in at the end of each shift.

It’s not the first time the pricy Tesla lets down its owner. Earlier this year in Shanghai, a Tesla Model S apparently spontaneously combusted, as was reported by the Epoch Times.

Tesla Car Spontaneously Combusts, Footage Shows

A Tesla parked in an underground garage in China suddenly caught fire, security camera footage shows.

The fire started at about 8:15 pm on April 21, 2019, in the city of Shanghai. No one was injured due to the fire.  However, two other cars were damaged in the fire, and the total cost of the damage is unknown.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, according to Chinese state-run media The Paper.

Police are investigating the incident, the outlet reported.

Tesla Model S
A Model S by U.S. electric car maker Tesla. (ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

The video shows a line of four cars, with what appears to be a Tesla Model S on the far left side. Smoke can be seen flowing out of both the left and right sides of the vehicle.

“You can see that,” a voice says in the video. Several other men’s voices agree that they can see the smoke.

The smoke then billows out from under the front of the car before a flash suddenly blinds the camera, and the car bursts into flames.

The Tesla sustained significant damage, and both the Audi and Lexus parked beside it also had varying degrees of damage.

Later in the video, several men, speaking in Mandarin and Shanghainese, can be heard analyzing how the fire started.

Epoch Times reporter Daniel Holl contributed to this report