In a significant stride toward achieving its 2030 carbon neutrality target, the city of Irvine received nearly $1 million in state funding that will allow its police department to electrify its vehicle fleet and purchase new equipment.
The announcement came during a press conference at the Great Park in Irvine, where State Senator Dave Min presented the $990,000 allocation to city officials on November 28.
According to officials, the funds will facilitate the transition of the Irvine Police Department’s fleet at the Great Park to an all-electric lineup.
“It’s remarkable to see how much has changed (at the Great Park),” Police Chief Michael Kent said at the press conference. “Upon its completion, it will join America’s inventory of national treasures, and it will set a new standard for great metropolitan parks nationwide.”
This initiative includes the installation of six charging stations and the acquisition of 13 electric vehicles, which will be deployed for policing services in and around the Great Park.
The fleet will feature Ford F-150 Lightning trucks, Ford Mustang Mach-Es, Polaris Rangers and all-terrain vehicles.
Kent said the goal is to convert the majority, if not the entirety, of the police fleet to electric power by 2030.
He also acknowledged that the timeline for specialized vehicles, such as motorcycles, would hinge on technological advancements.
However, the department is striving to deploy electric vehicles as soon as possible.
“As soon as we can get the order into manufacturers, they’re going out into the field,” Kent stated.
The move comes after another Southern California agency — the South Pasadena Police Department — became the first agency in the nation to adopt a fleet of Tesla vehicles.
During the press conference, Min spoke on the importance of the funding for achieving environmental goals.
“Budgets are a reflection of our values, and these funds demonstrate the state’s commitment to public safety as well as also meeting our climate goals,” he said, noting that transitioning to modern, greener police vehicles is a step in the right direction.
Apart from electric vehicles and charging stations, the remaining funds will be allocated for essential public safety equipment, including wave radios, lapel microphones, binoculars and cryptocurrency investigation software.
The investment will also bolster Irvine’s Real Time Crime Center with new software.
Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan said the electric feet will have dual benefits.
“Not only will this fleet allow us to further enhance the safety of park guests, but (it) will also allow us to do so while meeting our city’s climate action goals,” she said.
The move aligns with Irvine’s broader ambition to become a carbon-neutral city, with ongoing efforts to develop a climate action and adaptation plan.
According to Kent, Irvine is the only city in Orange County so far with concrete plans to transition to electric vehicles, although he noted that conversations are ongoing in other cities.