Los Angeles Police to Acquire Fleet of Electric BMWs

Courtesy of BMW
BMW i3 in LAPD livery.

The LAPD will aquire 100 BMW i3s instead of the Tesla Model S.

After evaluating a BMW and Tesla to determine the practicality of electric vehicles for police work, the Los Angeles Police Department will lease 100 BMW i3s, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD chief Charlie Beck announced Monday. 

The BMWs will be used for police business and community outreach, not as patrol cars. Last year, the LAPD acquired a Tesla P85D Model S and a BMW i3 for field testing. Although the $105,000 P85D is much more powerful, faster and has longer range — 200 miles-plus to the i3's 80 — the BMW costs only $42,000, is expected to mesh well with the LAPD's communications network and be convenient to service. 

Besides the i3's zero emissions, the LAPD's decision was influenced by the fact that the car's components are manufactured at green factories and sustainable materials such as reclaimed eucalyptus are used for the interior, Petter Witt, BMW's executive vp of North American operations, told The Hollywood Reporter.

"The mayor and police chief have a vision of going green and being a sustainable city," Witt said. "This vehicle fits in very well with what they are trying to achieve."

L.A.'s current procurement guidelines that stipulate 50 percent of new light-duty municipal vehicles must be electric will increase to 85 percent by 2025, part of the Sustainable City Plan championed by Garcetti. 

“We should be thinking green in everything we do — and these new EVs show how local government can lead,” said the mayor. “Our sustainability plan pushes L.A. to speed adoption of greener practices and technologies, which also save money and resources."

In addition to the i3s deploying this spring, the LAPD plans to add 100 EVs to its fleet per year for the next five years. Witt said that the BMWs will be delivered to the LAPD with no special equipment under 36-month leases similar in price to consumer leases (currently about $290 a month in Southern California).

The LAPD also will add 100 Level 2 chargers and four DC fast chargers provided by Greenlots, an open-source energy company, which will integrate its software with the city's fleet management.

Acknowledging the competition with Tesla for the contract, Witt said, "A neat thing for us is that, after about a year's worth of testing, to be the vehicle of choice is a testament to what we've accomplished with this vehicle."