3-wheeled fleets

Alternative vehicles have shaped themselves a patrol niche

Intuitive ride

   T3 Motion's law enforcement series models boast stability, clean energy and ease-of-ride. Unlike two-wheeled Segway units that are specially engineered to maintain balance and operate responding to rider movement like leaning, T3 units operate via a handle throttle much like a motorcycle, and have controls for signaling and sirens much like a car, thus it takes riders less time to orient themselves.

   Simpson says it makes sense to put beat patrol officers on the T3 models because the electric-powered unit lets law enforcement cover more ground with less fatigue than walking or biking. "They try to say their average route is about 8 miles a day, which is a lot. You start having issues with your feet, your knees, and your back ... in addition to the 20 pounds of equipment you're carrying," Simpson says. "[T3 units are] designed to make people do their job more efficiently, faster." She adds that units are iconic in the sense that they show officers have a presence with security, but are not threatening. "The T3 transport model really crosses over that path into community policing, where people come up and talk to you; they engage you as a law enforcement officer, which is what law enforcement wants," Simpson adds.

   In 2007, the first year the company began selling the units, T3 Motion won the Cygnus Law Enforcement Group's Innovation Award in the vehicles category for its stable platform and maneuverability.

   "Where all electric companies struggled is [when] people looked at it, they loved what it could do, but because we didn't have very many out there and we didn't have our service record on them [yet]," Simpson explains, police were hesitant. T3 says over the last nearly three years, the company's products have gained acceptance, are seen as less of a novelty and have crossed a line to a need-to-have product.

   T3 Motion vehicle versions cost approximately 10 cents of electricity per day, provide swappable batteries eliminating downtime, user-selectable speeds between 6 to 25 mph, headlights, and have a weight capacity of 450 pounds.

   Additionally, the company claims the electric unit can save thousands of dollars a year by replacing gas-powered vehicles, and can help reduce the carbon footprint of a patrol fleet.

Considering the environment

   Another company has recently made a contribution to the personal mobility market: Xtreme Green Products. Xtreme Green is an eco-vehicle company manufacturing the Sentinel Police Mobility Vehicle, an electric vehicle for security and law enforcement.

   Roth, who with his partner spent years perfecting the power supply and operation software for the unit, says their goal was to create an electric unit that performs just as well — or better — than gas-powered vehicles.

   When the company entered the electric personal transportation market, it heard several requests from law enforcement for improvement on other police-specific transportation that included everything from better headlights, police lights, siren system, and requests for a built-in cell phone charger, shock absorber system, and a better glove box. Officers also said they'd like a place for their flashlights. Xtreme Green responded to those notes and incorporated them into the Sentinel.

   The vehicle's three-wheel design and size allow officers to patrol on sidewalks safely, go through open doorways and climb 6-inch curbs when in pursuit.

   The company explains all Xtreme Green Products vehicles are designed with energy management systems and electric propulsion systems, giving each vehicle the power and ability of gas powered engines, but without the particulate or noise pollution.

   From the police motorcycle, the Sentinel upright and the four-wheel ATV and UTV, Xtreme Green's electric law enforcement line of vehicles covers all the different niches that law enforcement may need, Roth says.

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