In 2012, Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard announced an ambitious initiative that would see the city’s fleet of vehicles phased out in favor of plug-in hybrids and electric cars. That includes the Indianapolis Metro Police Department (IMPD), which has been complaining that some of the vehicles lack the speed or space required by patrol officers. This led to a review of the city’s contract, which was nearly 50% redacted, leading some politicians to question just what sort of deal Indianapolis has made, reports the Indy Star.
Ballard’s “Freedom Fleet” as he called it in 2012 is part of a $32 million contract with California’s Vision Fleet, which maintains the plug-in vehicles and rents them to the city, with the first wave comprising some 425 vehicles. Nissan LEAFs, Ford Fusions, and Chevy Volts make up much of the “Freedom Fleet,” which aims to get all of the city’s departments off of fossil fuels by 2025. That includes the IMPD, which has fielded complaints and concerns from officers who say that not only do their plug-in cars lack pursuit capability, but also trunk space. The Chevy Volt admittedly has a limited cargo area (though not NO cargo area, as the Indy Star incorrectly states), which meant an IMPD officer was forced to leave his machine gun on the back seat of the Volt.
These and other concerns led to the city council reviewing the contract, but what they received was a heavily redacted version protecting “trade secrets” that left 20 of 46 pages totally blacked out. This only heightened the political rhetoric, and while both Vision and Ballard have agreed to release the contract in full, tempers seem to be running high.
For its part, the Ballard Administration defended the plan in regards to the IMPD, saying that only supervisors and other non-patrol officers were being assigned plug-in cars to drive. The police said that while that’s true, supervisors are sometimes asked to serve in patrol roles, something the Chevy Volt, as cool as it is, isn’t exactly suited for. The Tesla P85D or BMW i8, on the other hand….
Note that this is separate from Indy’s other EV scheme, the BlueCar sharing program. Will Ballard’s ambitious plug-in goal come crumbling down? Or can Indianapolis placate its police officers to pepper plug-in cars?