Leeds nostalgia: First electric ‘cop car’ laughed at on streets in November 1993

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The UK’s first electric police car went on patrol in Leeds, provoking laughter on the city’s streets. The three-wheel 40mph Cushman ZEV, or Zero Emission Vehicle - was already a familiar sigh in the United States, where it is caused by traffic wardens in LA and to patrol parts of New York.

But over here people are still getting used to it, admitted driver PC Michael Kirby. “They fall about laughing,” he said. “It’s like a go-kart, basically. There is a forward and a reverse fear and it’s best doing 20mph round the city centre.”

During its two-week trial in Leeds, the £13,000 British built single-seat ZEV will be used as a mobile police station in the community.

The vehicle will drive for 16 hours or about 60 miles on an eight-battery charge. Drivers have been told to radio for reinforcements rather than take up the chase in the ZEV.