LAPD Moving Ahead With Plans To Test Fully Equipped Tesla Model S On Patrol Duty

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The Los Angeles Police Department will be moving ahead with plans to test a fully equipped Tesla Model S P85D — outfitted with radios, computers, a custody cage, a locking shotgun rack, as well as other equipment — on patrol duty, according to recent reports. Tesla will be involved “actively” in the outfitting or the Model S P85D with police equipment.

Interestingly, the move comes a few months after the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) took delivery of 100 BMW i3s — which have been used for various purposes, though not for patrol duty. The BMW i3 deployment for non-emergency purposes has gone well so far, according to the assistant commander of the Administrative Services Bureau, Vartan Yegiyan.


While the BMW i3 appears to be working well for non-emergency purposes, its range limitations seemingly preclude it from patrol uses. The Tesla Model S doesn’t have this problem — being capable of traveling considerably more than 250 miles per charge, and accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, of course. Altogether, the model seems to be much better suited to patrol use, though the price tag is certainly a real barrier to wide use as a police car.


NBC Los Angeles provides more: “Earlier this year, Tesla loaned LAPD two Model S sedans. One was painted in LAPD black and white livery and has appeared at numerous community events as the police car of the future. However, despite its appearance, the car has never been retrofitted with the police equipment needed for patrol duty. An agreement is in the works with Tesla to equip the second Tesla, all black and as yet unmarked, in LAPD’s garage.”

Continuing: “Once fitted with radios, a computer, custody cage, locking shotgun rack, and other equipment, the Tesla will be put to the test in the field by an on-duty patrol sergeant, who will be driving to emergencies and possibly even taking part in pursuits, according to Yegiyan. But regardless of how well the Tesla handles the rigors of police duty, there is one big obstacle to its future as a patrol car: its six figure price tag, far above the thirty thousand dollar range for the traditional police vehicles built by Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge, and far higher even than the $40,000-plus BMW i3.”

Pricing for electric vehicles will be coming down over the next decade or two, though, which is no doubt why the LAPD is doing testing now. Give it 10 or so years and electric vehicles will surely be a very good option for police cars.

The LAPD expects to begin replacing its internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles with electric ones only 5 or so year from now.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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