Electric Vehicles On Patrol
November 28, 2023
UMB Police and Public Safety receives two GEM electric vehicles, supporting UMB’s core value of Well-Being and Sustainability.
When you think of a police car, what type of vehicle do you picture? University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Police and Public Safety hope you think of one that’s sustainable.
This month, the department received two GEM electric vehicles — one for police and one for security. The 100 percent electric vehicles use an upgraded lithium battery for extended patrol time and longer life. They have removable doors for the summer or can be totally enclosed during the winter or inclement weather. They even have heat.
“These GEM cars are a great addition to our fleet,” says Thomas Leone, MSL, assistant vice president for public safety and chief of police. “It’s sustainable, comfortable, and most importantly safe. We can use it year-round.”
The GEM cars are the latest electric vehicles in UMB Public Safety’s fleet; it already includes more than a dozen other electric vehicles such as Segways, Cushmans, and electric bicycles. The department’s Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) and security team will primarily be using the electric vehicles, which can drive up to 35 miles per hour and seat up to four people.
“The extra space makes these vehicles ideal for our Safe Walk service,” says Leone. “As it gets darker earlier, our demand for Safe Walk and Safe Ride goes up. These GEM cars help us improve our service.”
In addition to the electric vehicles, UMB Police and Public Safety have several traditional patrol vehicles in their fleet. These vehicles, and other UMB fleet vehicles, account for 41 percent of the University’s carbon footprint that it can directly control, according to Angela Ober, senior sustainability and effectiveness specialist in the UMB Office of Sustainability.
“These emissions are a small part of UMB’s overall footprint, but by reducing the number of gas-powered vehicles on campus, we’re able to reduce that direct impact we’re contributing to the climate crisis,” says Ober. “By choosing a low-speed electric vehicle like GEM, UMB Public Safety is able to reduce their emissions by at least 75 percent compared to a gas-powered vehicle.”
The move is another step toward compliance with the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, which says that 100 percent of passenger cars in the state of Maryland’s fleet be zero-emissions vehicles by 2031.
Leone says the new GEM vehicles align with the department’s commitment to service excellence and the University’s core value set of Well-Being and Sustainability.
“When we say that we weave UMB’s core values into the fabric of our organization, we have to mean it,” he says. “And so we’re walking the walk — or maybe I should say we’re driving into a more sustainable future.”