The London Metropolitan Police is now trialling the use of a range-extended BMW i3 as a patrol car, exploring the value of a nearly silent police vehicle in urban environments, according to recent reports.
It should be stated up front, in order to cut off inaccurate claims, that the range-extended BMW i3 has a decent enough range in urban environments (where the aggressive regenerative braking comes into play and air drag isn’t as strong), over 100 miles for the 2017 model. The BMW i3 is a fairly quick one as well, doing 0 to 30 mph (o–50 km/h) in just 3.5 seconds or so, which is potentially a great benefit in a police patrol car.
The Met will reportedly be using the new range-extended BMW i3 on patrols in the Wandsworth Borough Commander. Notably, the EV is being loaned to the Met by BMW for free — presumably in expectation of a large order from them at some point.
Chief Superintendent Richard Smith, Wandsworth Borough Commander, was quoted as saying: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to trial this environmentally friendly response vehicle in Wandsworth. Our aim is to ensure that Wandsworth is a safe place for anyone who lives, works or visits here; this vehicle allows us to do so whilst also playing our part in helping to improve air quality, which must be a good thing.”
The Wandsworth government that, “in addition to the standard testing and evaluation tools, police officers will report back on their experience of using the vehicle during regular patrolling duties. The police driving school will also be testing the vehicle and providing expert advice on its potential use within the police fleet.”
The deputy council leader in Wandsworth, Jonathan Cook, commented as well: “It’s great to see Wandsworth police exploring the role electric vehicles can play in their operations. Air quality is a major issue right across London and embracing electric motoring has the potential to make a real difference.”
That’s a good point. The more public vehicles (taxis, police cars, buses, etc.) that can be transitioned to zero-emissions vehicles, the better for the humans who live in that jurisdiction. After all, air pollution probably kills far more people than violent crime does … even if in less dramatic, immediate ways.