Electrifying the Force: NSW Police celebrate one year with a Kona EV.

07 October, 2022

Police departments around the world are making the jump to electric vehicles (EVs). As the force keep our streets safe, they want to keep our environment clean too, and so replacing fleets with greener options is becoming a new trend.

In early 2021, the NSW Police Force joined the movement and accepted the keys to their very first EV. As part of a sponsorship with Hyundai, they signed up to test our Kona EV for 12 months promising to give us a full and frank assessment of whether an EV is truly up to the task of law enforcement.

The Kona EV was deployed from the Penrith Police Station in Sydney’s West and was immediately put to work by the Nepean Police Area Command.

In the Crime Prevention Unit, the car hit the beat, with officers using the vehicle on active duty in their efforts to keep the local community safe. The car was also put to service in community engagement events allowing the public to get up close with the tech, to win over new EV fans.

With its instantly recognisable blue and red livery, the Kona turned heads and hopefully minds too in terms of the place of EVs in a modern police force.

The Kona has been used daily by the Nepean Police Area Command and the judgment is in.

The Nepean Police Area Command Hyundai Kona EV fitted out with police livery and equipment

Are electric vehicles the future of police cars?

Practicality, convenience, driveability and safety of a zero-emission vehicle over the course of their daily patrols were the key factors assessed by the Nepean Police Area Command.

The custodian of the Kona was Reg Singh, Multicultural Community Liaison Officer who has been curious to see if an EV could be the right fit for the force’s varied activities.

“The main reason we wanted to trial an EV was to get a true sense of whether a fully electric vehicle was up to the task of policing. As the first EV in the Nepean Police Area Command, we were eager to see how it would perform,” he said.

The car was put through its paces in a range of settings to get a feel for its versatility and suitability as a replacement to the Command’s existing traditional police car fleet.

Charging to the rescue: Is an EV up to the job?

The number one consideration for the Command was range and ease of charging the electric vehicle. It’s obviously important that an active police car can go the distances required of the job!

An AC charger was installed in the Penrith Police Station underground secure carpark. Singh explained that the Kona’s range capacity meant it can be used over several shifts.

Charging the Kona couldn’t be easier, we simply charged overnight with no issues,” he said.

The other consideration important to Singh was how the car could be used as an opportunity to connect with the local community.

“Taking the vehicle to community engagement events gave us an opportunity to deepen our connections with the public. Talking about EVs and how we are using the car has been a fantastic way to bond with the community,” he said.

Senior Sargeant Craig Busby of the Nepean Police Area Command’s Crime Prevention Unit also used the Kona EV for crime reduction and intelligence activities across Penrith.

“Our officers regularly use the EV in their daily duties with the car’s quietness, acceleration and general performance all found to be of great value to the job of crime prevention,” he commented.

Policing in an EV - The final assessment

With many months of using an EV now under their belt, Singh said that the feedback from members of the Command has been “overwhelmingly positive”.

“We have been delighted with how well the Kona has fit into our fleet and performed on the job – it’s clear that there is a place in the future for all-electric police vehicles.”

And the ultimate sign of the EVs success as a part of the Nepean Police Area Command? With the initial loan period of 12 months completed, the Command will continue to use the Kona.

In August, both Sargeant Busby and Mr Singh visited Hyundai’s Australian headquarters and kindly acknowledged our support in the EV trial with an appreciation award.

In accepting the award, Hyundai Australia’s CEO, Ted Lee commented that the trial was an invaluable opportunity for Hyundai to understand how the vehicle performs in law enforcement settings.

“We are delighted to support the NSW Police Force to experience the unique benefits of our long-range, zero-emission battery electric SUV and continuing our collaboration with the Nepean Police Area Command through the Kona trial.” - Ted Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Hyundai Motor Company Australia

Reg Singh, Multicultural Community Liaison Officer and Senior Sargeant Craig Busby from the Nepean Police Area Command with Hyundai Australia’s CEO, Ted Lee and COO, John Kett

Hyundai is also supporting other police forces around Australia as they similarly determine the suitability of an EV in their operations.

A Hyundai NEXO fuel cell electric vehicle is currently being used in the Queensland Police’s North Brisbane Domestic and Family Violence Vulnerable Persons Unit.

In parallel, an IONIQ 5 is being trialled by the WA Police Force across the state in police duties.

Both vehicles have been fitting out with branding, police radios, lights and sirens.

Hyundai looks forward to working with these police departments and others in the future as we assist them on their EV journey to demonstrate the place of fully electric cars in Australian policing.