Uncommon cruisers

A comparison of battery-powered vehicles


An officer on foot blends in with the crowd; they are seen, yet unseen until noticed. Your officers are only as tall as they can be, their badge only grabs the inattentive passer-by with a reflection of light.

What if there was a way to push this visibility off the scale? What if there was a way to have patrol officers have an unmistakable presence—without sitting in a traditional patrol vehicle?

And what if that way ultimately saved a good bit of money come the yearly budget review?

Fully electric vehicles look to provide just that: these force multipliers knock the gas bill down a notch, minimize the maintenance costs all while enhancing community relationships and crowd recognition. Transports range from single to a whopping six officers—all without using a single drop of gasoline, emitting absolutely no noxious fumes and quietly running hours…and miles…on end. Its important to note that none of these are meant to replace the patrol vehicle. While a few of these models are in fact street legal, none are pursuit rated; dust off the gas card if you need to go faster than 70 mph.

We put a few of these such vehicles side by side. Will all-electric wheels fit within your mission?

Before you ask, the models shown here are chargeable by a 110 to 220 connection with memory-less batteries so you can stop, top off the charge, and move on.

One could really lean into this

If you’ve never ridden on a Segway, the first seconds are slightly unnerving. Think of it like getting your sea legs or like learning to ride a bike. Chip MacDonald, the company’s director of Global Police and Government Business, attributes this short learning curve to the fact that it was designed to behave like a human. “On two feet, but faster,” he says.

Segway initially offered the i2 and x2 Patroller PT (personal transport). In his experience, having heard as if they took foot patrol and put it on steroids MacDonald often receives stories back from police departments. He explains that one department with around 100 PTs on patrol kept up with a fleeing suspect; the officer described the chase as “tooling along behind.” When apprehended, the worn-out suspect asked, “What is that thing?”.

Once accustomed, controlling a PT is as straightforward as one could imagine—lean in the direction you want to go. And that’s as simple and as complicated as it sounds. The most common concern surrounding these is its stability; while “manned” this is easily overcome with a short time in training. Unmanned however, Segway has responded to this concern by developing a model featuring a third wheel. This new model will be able to stand upright, raising it’s force multiplication exponentially. It will offer similar specifications as its two-wheeled siblings, but it will be slightly larger.

The Segway technology has been around for 13 years and with, according to MacDonald, roughly 10,000 units purchased one might guess the picture of an officer “tooling around” on one to be ordinary. Segways still grabs attention and beefs up patrol presence. Officers are able to respond quicker, cover nine times more ground than on foot, access “predestinarian-only” areas all while presenting an image without a significant barrier between them and the people.

 

i2 Patroller PT

  • Range — 24 miles
  • Top Speed — 12.5 mph
  • Acceleration — unspecified,
  • dynamic acceleration based on user control
  • Vehicle weight — 105 pounds
  • Charging time (max time) —
  • 10 hours (recharges when going downhill)
  • On-board charging kit — Yes
  • Battery type — Li-ion
  • Tire size — 19 inches
  • Turning radius — Zero degrees
  • Training available — Yes

 

x2 Patroller PT

  • Range — 12 miles
  • Top Speed — 12.5 mph
  • Acceleration — unspecified,
  • dynamic acceleration based on user control
  • Vehicle weight — 120 pounds
  • Charging time (max time) —
  • 10 hours from zero (recharges when going downhill)
  • Onboard charging kit — Yes
  • Battery type — Li-ion
  • Tire size — 8 inches
  • Turning radius — Zero degrees
  • Training available — Yes
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