HAMPSHIRE Police is set to introduce 40 electric cars to its fleet in a bid to save £450,000. These will replace existing petrol models, which cost £3.50 per day to run, compared to the new carbon-free motors £1-a-day. It is the first non-metropolitan force in the country to make the change, with others now looking to do the same. Inspector Andy Tester, who developed the plan, said: “It quickly became clear that stepping up a gear when it came to electric cars made perfect sense, both financially and environmentally. “We are spending public money so it is vitally important that forces find pioneering new ways to transform the way things are done. “There is a perception that electric cars are expensive but we have done the sums and wit the help of government grant, the savings for the first three years is £450,000. “That type of saving, when every force across the country is looking to cut costs, is almost impossible to argue against, especially when you look at the environmental benefits too. “Proof of this is how quickly we have seen other forces across the country look at our ideas – imitation is the best form of flattery after all.” The force says that as CID and pool cars require no modifications beyond the fitting of a police radio and tracking systems, bringing in these vehicles will require minimal additional expense. Insp Tester added: “The obvious major drawback of electric cars is what happens if they run out of electricity during a journey, but in the unlikely event this did happen, these cars have a petrol back-up system that would last for 60miles. So that problem is instantly eradicated. “The range of the i3 on electric power alone is up to 120 miles and the average daily mileage of a CID or pool car is significantly less than 100 miles. “Plus, the majority of these vehicles are generally used on day or late shifts, which means the cars can be charged for regular periods overnight. “And the response from those who have used them so far has been fantastic, they have praised the design, quality, equipment levels and the way they drive. “People have really been surprised at how much they enjoy driving them and we are sure that this experience will be the same across the board. “Currently we have more than 220 pool and CID cars but the plan is for us to move towards having a 50/50 split in the future.” A small proportion of the initial £450,000 saving will fund the upfront cost of having to install more charging points at Southampton, Basingstoke and Portsmouth stations, but once in place, these will have a lifespan well in excess of 10 years. Chief constable Olivia Pinkney said: “Hampshire Constabulary has a reputation for finding new and ground-breaking ways to be more efficient. I commend the team who have developed this plan for continuing that fine tradition. “We are proud to be in the driving seat of innovation. These cars save public money, are proving popular with our teams and are kinder to the environment. This ticks all the boxes and we are excited to see whether others forces can benefit too.”