Portugal's Polícia de Segurança Pública (that'll be PSP from here on out) has put the world's first Nissan Leaf police car fleet on the streets. The eight-car fleet will help PSP in its goal to reduce its carbon footprint.
"We pride ourselves in being the first police force in the world to incorporate cars with zero-emission technology as part of our 5,000 vehicle fleet," Superintendent Paul Gomes Valente, National Director of PSP, said in a statement. "We want to continue contributing to the reduction in pollution in large urban centers and the introduction of the 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF sets a new benchmark for our fleet."
While entities of all kinds are interested in cutting their environmental impact (or at least enjoying the cost savings of doing so), the Nissan Leaf seems like an odd choice for a police vehicle. Criminals on the run need only hit speeds of more than 90 mph (145 km/h) or distances of around 100 miles (161 km), and they'd be free.
That's probably why the PSP, which itself is focused on patrolling urban environments, will concentrate the use of the new Leafs in its Safe School Program. We're not sure of the scope of that program, but we're envisioning the Leaf driving a couple blocks to the local school, sitting parked for most of the day, and maybe making short-distance patrols around school grounds.
Nissan's press release does mention that the cars have flashing lights, sirens and clear Polícia markings, so they can be called on for any other task - assuming they have enough charge to get there. Surely, an officer in the Leaf would radio for back-up at the first sign of a pursuit, so the Leaf's lack of driving range shouldn't hamper police work in practice. As Nissan points out, the Leaf's quiet electric motor could even provide the benefit of catching criminals off guard (though the piercing siren might give it away).