In a press release announcing the planned purchase, cantonal police said tests had shown the cars with their superior handling, generous storage and payload capacity were well and truly up to the job.
After charging, the cars had a range of 500 kilometres while patrol cars generally drove 200 kilometres a day, the release added.
The city would win before environmentally and economically by using the Tesla cars instead of the diesel vehicles currently in service, police said.
The statement noted that the new cars will cost 140,000 francs each, against the 90,700 francs for the current crop of diesel vehicles, but added lower running and maintenance costs – as well as a higher resale value for the Teslas – would make up for the higher initial price.
The electric cars set for purchase by the Basel city police force have been specially customised for police use by Dutch security firm Force Pro, regional daily the Basellandschaftliche Zeitung reported.
The main advantage of the Tesla cars is in terms of connectivity and communication," Force Pro sales director Theo Karanfantis told the paper. "A conventional car brings a police officer from A to B. What Basel police are now buying is a laptop on wheels," he added.
With the cars, police would also be equipped for future challenges such as the fight against drone, Karafantis said.
The first cars are expected to be delivered this year.
But the Swiss People's Party (SVP) in the canton were quick to criticize the expense for a car that was not yet proven as a police vehicle. The party also took aim at police over the fact that the purchase had not been put out to tender and have asked for an official explanation.
In their release, cantonal police said that only one electric car on the market met their needs.