The San Luis Obispo Police Department is testing out an electric, zero-emissions patrol motorcycle this week to determine whether the environmentally friendly bikes could be a useful addition to the departments fleet.
The motorcycle, which is significantly smaller than the departments current patrol motorcycles, has the ability to navigate off-road areas that standard street motorcycles cannot, said Sgt. Fred Mickel, head of the departments Traffic Safety Unit.
The model was developed by Santa Cruz-based Zero Motorcycles and is on loan to the department from a Clovis-based dealer. According to Mickel, a single charge is good for approximately 130 miles and costs the department about a dollar per charge. Each battery is designed to last approximately 250,000 miles.
The motorcycles cost roughly $20,000 each.
It wouldnt be tomorrow that wed be buying one if the city chooses to go that route, Mickel said. Were testing it out to see if it meets the needs of our department.
That test includes an evaluation of the bikes strengths and limitations, which the department will determine following the weeklong test run. Generally speaking, Mickel said, officers have already found that the motorcycles are hard to see on the road because of their size. However, they are also extremely quiet, which may serve officers purposes in certain situations.
Were not looking at these thinking they would replace our entire fleet, but they may be something we can use in specialized situations, Mickel said, adding that a number of California cities have acquired similar motorcycles.