The Los Angeles Police Department recently showed off a Tesla Model S P85D and a BMW i3 as the newest members of its police car fleet in the name of “testing and research.” The two high-end automobiles are being loaned to the LAPD and were unveiled as part of the announcement of a broader plan to bring 288 new electric and hybrid vehicles to Los Angeles’ city-owned fleet.
On Friday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the Los Angeles Police, Fire, General Services, and Water and Power departments will lease 160 pure battery electric vehicles; and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and General Services Department will lease 128 plus-in hybrid vehicles. These 288 electric vehicles will replace older city vehicles.
“This year, Los Angeles will become home to the largest city-owned fleet of pure battery electric vehicles anywhere in the country, and we will save taxpayer dollars along the way,” Garcetti said.
The announcement is part of the Sustainable City pLAn, a roadmap to make Los Angeles more sustainable. The plan includes a goal to have electric vehicles account for half of the city’s annual light-duty vehicle purchases by 2017 and 80 percent of city vehicle fleet purchases by 2025.
Of the 160 battery electric vehicles, 100 will be dedicated to the LAPD and used by detectives, investigators, and administrative employees.
The Tesla Model S P85D Model S P85D and BMW i3 are being loaned to the LAPD for “testing and research by LAPD technical experts to determine how this technology can support their future needs,” according to the announcement.
“I think that today, this announcement, will trickle across the nation as a challenge to other cities, other police departments, other fire departments to look at what you’re doing and to take a step that makes a change for the positive,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. “Great day for policing, great day for the city. Proud to be an Angeleno.”
But on Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department showed off the newest member of its fleet, a black-and-white BMW i3, a diminutive electric car meant for tooling around downtowns, not necessary for a televised high-speed freeway chase.
BMW is loaning the not-so-intimidating police cruiser to the force for a year as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti's desire to get more electric or plug-in cars into the city's fleet.
"Today, we take another step toward becoming the most sustainable city in America," said Garcetti in prepared remarks. "This year, Los Angeles will become home to the largest city-owned fleet of pure battery electric vehicles anywhere in the country, and we will save taxpayer dollars along the way."
The police department, along with fire, general services, and water and power, will lease a total of 160 electric vehicles. Two departments, general services and water and power, will also lease a total of 128 plug-in hybrids.
The move could be boon to automakers, BMW included, which need to sell zero-emission vehicles under a state mandate. But with gas prices low and lower-range electric vehicles out of favor, the clean cars been a tough sell with consumers.
BMW is thrilled at L.A.'s move.
"The decision by the Los Angeles Police Department to undertake this evaluation highlights the compelling nature of the BMW i3 as a versatile, sustainable vehicle," says Christine Fleischer, manager for BMW plug-in cars in the U.S. "The i3 is a brilliant fit with the technology-driven research philosophy of the LAPD."
Though it's not terribly fast and range per charge is limited, BMW says the i3 has a tight turning circle that will help maneuvering around L.A.