The LAPD is eyeing Tesla’s fastest, most powerful Model S as a potential pursuit vehicle. Extension cord not included.
The LAPD has apparently been impressed enough with the Tesla Model S that it’s considering using them as police cars. The police department has been testing two high-performance P85D sedans for more than a year.
Speaking with CNBC, LAPD Police Administrator Vartan Yegiyan said:
Tesla definitely stepped up and gave us the Model S to do some evaluation with them. To assess the vehicle’s performance in our environment and to learn what are the drawbacks and positives of this type of vehicle in our fleet operation. Not only on the regular transportation side, but also the future in the high-pursuit-rated vehicle arena.
Partly due to its high price, the Model S won’t see official duty for a while, but the LAPD already sees its potential in the long run.
“Is it practical now? No,” said Yegiyan. But in “the next three to five years . . . not only will the industry push toward electrification, but prices will drop on vehicles. While that’s occurring we’ll be in the space learning and contributing to the process.”
With the price of a Model S P85D pushing $100,000, it’s understandable that police departments would want to hold off on adding them to their fleets. Even loaded with all the necessary police equipment, an Explorer-based Ford Police Interceptor still costs less than half that price.
But when it becomes reasonable to begin using electric police cars, the LAPD wants to be ready. It’s is also testing a BMW i3, and police officers are already using several electric motorcycles and scooters around the city.
“In California, there’s pressure from above and there’s also a desire on the part of the (electric vehicle) manufacturers to get their vehicles out there,” Tom Libby, an analyst at IHS Automotive, told CNBC.
But don’t expect conventional automakers like Ford and Dodge to let Tesla move in on law enforcement fleet sales without a fight. “We are a leader in law enforcement, and we intend to remain the leader,” Randy Freiburger, Ford police and ambulance fleet supervisor, told CNBC.