The Los Angeles Police Department has decided to lease 100 BMW i3 sedans for three years. It chose the i3 over the Tesla Model S primarily because the BMW costs about half what the Tesla does. The three year lease will cost the city $1.4 million. Part of that cost will be offset by the lower operating costs associated with electric cars. The cars will use no gasoline, for instance, and should cost less to maintain than the traditional vehicles the police department uses.
There is a side benefit to this arrangement. The city will invest an additional $1.5 million in infrastructure to support the use of the electric cars. Greenlots, a California based company that manages electric vehicle charging networks, will supply 100 Level 2 and four DC fast chargers to the LAPD. That infrastructure, of course, will remain after the lease term expires.
The BMWs will be used for routine police business, not for high speed pursuit or other high performance duty. Police Chief Charlie Beck said the department was continuing to work with BMW, Tesla and other automakers to create a more capable electric vehicle. “We want to go to the next step,” he said. “They will absolutely be the patrol cars of the future.”
Los Angeles is leading the way among American cities at transitioning to electric cars. It will add another 100 electrics to its fleet this year in addition to those going to the police department. Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed the move, saying, “We should be thinking green in everything we do. He added that the adoption of electric cars will “also save money and resources.” Leasing the BMWs will allow the city “to be flexible and to change as EV technology evolves further.”
BMW says its existing network of “i centers” in the Los Angeles area was a factor it the LAPD’s decision. Those centers will be available to service the cars during the term of the lease. The LAPD also uses BMW motorcycles, another factor that may have helped smooth the decision to go with the i3 instead of the Model S.
Source: LA Times Photo credit: BMW