Powered-up park patrol

Fargo Parks and Fargo Police are enjoying the benefits of an electric patrol motorcycle, supported in part by Cass County Electric Cooperative.


Kaylee Cusack


September 28, 2020

When Josh Marvig started his position as a dual patrol officer for Fargo Police and Fargo Parks in 2018, he knew he had a great gig to bridge any gaps to the community. When he helped integrate a new pair of kilowatt-powered wheels into the fleet, his love of the position amped up.

“With my own background of liking to ride motorcycles, the fact that I got to spend the entire summer riding a motorcycle around…” Marvig trailed off, beaming beside his ride. “People are super happy to see an officer in the parks. And when they get to see him on a unique vehicle – something that’s quiet, something they’ve never seen before – it’s definitely a conversation starter.”

Fargo Parks/Fargo Police Officer Josh Marvig says the addition of an electric motorcycle to his patrol has brought a bounty of benefits. (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft)

Officer Marvig is breaking down barriers with his new, all-electric police motorcycle. The bike hit the parks this spring with help of several community partners, including Cass County Electric Cooperative (CCEC). By mid-September, Marvig had already racked up more than 2,200 miles on the motorcycle, covering more than 100 parks, 130-plus miles of trails and 2,300 acres of land that aren’t as easily accessible with a squad car.

“It’s done everything we expected and then some,” he said.

Other than police lights and decal graphics, the off-road-capable electric motorcycle looks like a normal motorcycle, but lacks the jolting roar of a gas-powered vehicle.

“It’s quiet and perfect for the parks – whether you look at that from a law enforcement standpoint, that people literally do not hear me coming, or for just blending in,” Marvig explained. “You’re taking that exhaust noise and those smells out of the parks, especially down trails and at events.”

As for range, the bike’s 160-mile battery has no problem covering a full patrol day. Marvig has never had to recharge mid-shift and simply plugs in at night to wake up to a full charge.

The savings are also adding up. In the month of August, the electric motorcycle cost only $1.60 in electricity to cover 400 patrol miles. For the entire summer, it cost just over $8 to charge and nothing was spent on maintenance (no oil to change). Marvig says most squad cars average only 10 miles per gallon, much of that consumed while the cars idle.

Officer Marvig explains the unique dash functions of the electric motorcycle. (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft)

Community project

Brian Arett, director of the Fargo Park District Foundation, noted that CCEC was invaluable to securing funding for the motorcycle. The cooperative not only provided $6,000 in Operation Round Up grants and corporate funds, but also helped with a grant submission to the North Dakota Department of Commerce, which provided an additional $10,000 for the $20,600 fully loaded police bike.

“Cass County Electric’s enthusiastic support of this project underscores their incredible involvement in the communities they serve,” Arret said. “We are so fortunate for the role they played in making this project happen and very appreciative of their efforts.”

Commitment to community is a core electric cooperative value. Paul Matthys, CCEC vice president of Member & Energy Services, said that helping add an electric vehicle (EV) to the police fleet was a way to show that principle in action while spreading EV awareness.  

“Cass County Electric is a pioneer in new technology, and we are the trusted energy advisors for our members and communities,” Matthys said. “The partnership with the Fargo Police Department is an excellent example of this, and we plan to use the technical data and statistics to educate members on EV technology.”

A Cass County Electric Cooperative decal is proudly displayed on the motorcycle, a nod to the co-op's support in acquiring the electric bike. (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft)

Officer Marvig knows his bike can’t do everything the police department needs, like transporting someone to jail or running license plates. However, he still thinks it’s just the start of electrification to come.

“I think there is a future there,” Marvig said. “And working with Cass County Electric with this project, I think it is cool that we can show that this is a completely electric vehicle – and a unique one.”

Fargo Officer Josh Marvig patrols the trails of Trollwood Park in North Fargo. (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft)

About the bike

Model: Zero DSR

Range: 163 miles (city)

Battery size: 14.4 kWh

Charge source: 120-volt outlet

Charge time: 10 hours

Recharge cost: $1.60

Max top speed: 100 mph

Main image: Officer Josh Marvig stands with his all-electric patrol motorcycle in North Fargo's Trollwood Park. (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft)


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