Cops based near Oxford in the UK have revealed that they are unable to to use flashing blue lights on their new electric car – in case it drains too much power from the battery.
The Thames Valley police force is testing out the £20,000 ($33,000) Mitsubishi iMiev in an effort to improve its environmental credentials. Apart from this quite obvious setback, they have been pleased with the silent, emission-free car, capable of travelling 100 miles on a single charge (with the lights off).
According to local Councillor Gerry Webb, of Oxford, “It also saves public money.” The force has yet to decide whether to buy more of the cars.
In the meantime, the cops have not yet revealed exactly how they intend to signal suspects to pull over – maybe they could drive real close and pull a funny face?
Joking aside though, this story highlights a broader issue about the effect that ‘supplementary’ power-using devices, from electric windows to Sat-Nav, might have on the overall engine power and range of electric cars.
Some manufacturer’s have opted for an integrated solar roof to power such systems, like this quirky Trabant. One obvious drawback of this approach is that extended cloudy or dark periods will render it useless. Others have opted for a supplementary low-power battery, which has the disadvantage of taking up much-needed space. A company’s ability to come up with suitable solutions to just this kind of problem could prove to be a critical arena of competition in the future.
Image Credit – davidsonscott15 on flickr