Southern California is one of the biggest markets for electric vehicles in the nation, so it comes as no surprise that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is currently testing a pair of Tesla Model S P85Ds.
Tesla gave LAPD the two loaner cars nearly a year ago. Officers have been experimenting with the sedans to find out what are the pros and cons of adding electric cars to its fleet. The organization explains that it looked at using the S as a regular patrol car, and as a pursuit vehicle during high-speed chases.
Numerous tests were carried out over the past couple of months, but the LAPD’s top brass ultimately decided against adding the Model S to its fleet because it can’t justify spending that much money on a patrol car. The P85D that’s participating in the program isn’t available anymore, but the P90D model carries a base price of $109,500 before incentives are factored in. That’s before it’s been outfitted as a patrol car, too.
Tesla missed out on a major market. Vartan Yegiyan, LAPD’s police administrator, told CNBC that the organization spends approximately $30 million annually on anywhere between 600 and 750 new vehicles. The most popular police cruiser is the Ford Explorer, which starts at about $30,000 but ends up costing between $45,000 and $50,000 once it’s outfitted with law enforcement-specific equipment.
All hope is not lost for Tesla. LAPD will continue to closely monitor the progress of electric cars, and it’ll reconsider going gasoline-free in a couple of years’ time when battery-powered models are more affordable, and charging stations are easier to find. Whether that means cops will give Tesla a second chance when the entry-level Model 3 hits the market is up in the air at this point.
The LAPD is also testing the BMW i3. It’s much more affordable than the S, but its 114-mile range and its 93 mph top speed mean that it can only be used as a patrol car around town. A decision on whether or not to add the i3 to the LAPD’s fleet hasn’t been made yet.