The University of Florida Police Department unveiled two new all-electric motorcycles Wednesday as part of the university’s effort to reduce emissions.
The move makes UF’s one of two police departments in Florida with the bikes, which cost $16,000 each, release no emissions and cost virtually nothing to maintain.
The bikes were shown at the UF Campus Earth Day Celebration on Wednesday morning after the university’s Office of Sustainability asked the police department to make at least 10 percent of its fleet electric vehicles.
“It allows us to go to calls quicker, respond to situations that are not easily accessible by cars and meet those sustainability standards, as well,” UFPD spokesman Officer Wayne Clark said. “So it’s a win-win for everybody.”
The motorcycles will soon be modified to include saddlebags for carrying gear and emergency medical equipment, and they’re already equipped with police lights and sirens.
“They’re more versatile, which offers more options in the way that we use them,” Clark said.
Some, however, believe the bikes have disadvantages.
“I’m typically used to riding 300 to 400 miles a day for seven days at a time,” said Michael Wohl, a rider with the Gator Motorcycle Riders group. “So electric motorcycles wouldn’t work for the type of riding that I like to do.”
Because of their silent nature, the electric bikes also pose a threat because other drivers may not be able to hear them coming, Clark said.
“The one disadvantage compared to the Harley-Davidson is that the Harley does make quite a bit of noise,” he said. “So people are aware when we’re in the general area or at least if we’re right next to them, like at an intersection or something like that.”
UFPD still plans to keep their five Harley-Davidsons for motorcades and long-distance rides.
WUFT News reporter Megan Kearney contributed to this report.