Police forces are set to be the latest group to embrace electric cars, as the Los Angeles Police Department is set to begin testing the cleaner vehicles in the near future.
The department plans to start leasing 160 electric cars and 128 hybrids. The city is aiming to eventually switch all of its squad cars and at least 50% of its newly purchased vehicles to electric. Detectives and investigators will use 100 of these new cars.
The move is expected to reduce the department’s cost of operating vehicles by 41%.
In order to begin the testing process, Tesla and BMW have each loaned a vehicle to the LAPD. Tesla loaned its Model S P85D, while BMW offered one of its i-Series of sedans.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “(The vehicles) will be used for testing and research by LAPD technical experts to determine how this technology can support their future needs.”
However, it’s unlikely that the LAPD would switch its all of squad cars to BMWs. The department would most likely experience a public relations disaster if they invested into cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece while not being built in America like the Teslas.
Yet the Tesla S probably isn’t suitable to replace all the force’s squad cars either. The model automatically reduces power with prolonged acceleration, making it a poor choice for police chases which happen frequently throughout the sprawl of Los Angeles.
Converting a major police department’s entire fleet of cars to electric vehicles won’t happen immediately yet the recent moves show that as electric vehicles are embraced by the public the same decision making factors appear set to drive fleet adoption.
The LAPD’s transition to electric cars is estimated to have the environmental impact equivalent to planting 20,000 trees.
The Los Angeles Police Department has expressed an interest in electric vehicles in the past. In 2013, the department began testing electric motorcycles from Zero Motorcycles.