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The LAPD Just Can’t Quit the Idea of Electric Patrol Cars

OJ Simpson chased by a fleet of LAPD BMW i3s, Image: © 2016 Kevin McCauley/The Truth About Cars

The Los Angeles Police Department loves the idea of Tesla patrol cars so much, it’s rekindling a dream it put on ice earlier this year.

The city’s coffers haven’t suddenly become flush with cash, and a previous testing cycle saw the LAPD cross the automaker off its list of potential electric vehicle suppliers. Still, it looks like the idea of a black-and-white Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode is just too great to pass up.

According to NBC Los Angeles, the LAPD will test a Model S as a patrol car. This, despite the department handing back two Model S P85D demonstration vehicles earlier this year with the complaint that they are simply too expensive. It greened its fleet with a crop of BMW i3s for non-emergency use instead.

One of those two vehicles saw a LAPD paint job, but it remained stock and neither went to work patrolling the mean streets of the City of Angels. This time, the force plans to install the full gamut of cop hardware, non-electric shotgun and rack included. Once outfitted, the vehicle goes to work.

Vartan Yegiyan, assistant commander of the LAPD’s Administrative Services Bureau, claims the vehicle should be on the road next year. Assigned to an on-duty sergeant, the Model S will respond to emergencies, and, if the situation calls for it, chase perps. That’s a copter-filmed pursuit we’d like to see.

There’s few vehicles on the road today that can challenge the Tesla’s acceleration, but cost remains an issue. A well-equipped Model S P90D carries a $114,500 cash price. Move up to the longer range P100D and the sticker soars to $134,500. Ford and Dodge needn’t be worried about losing law enforcement market share any time soon.

However, the LAPD is serious about adding tailpipe-free vehicles to its patrol fleet. The department predicts another five years will pass before EVs make it into that fleet.

[Image: © 2016 Kevin McCauley/The Truth About Cars]

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