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Two Tesla Model S Sedans Testing for LAPD Fleet

Dreaming of electric cop cars

Elon Musk and Tesla's latest venture heads to the world of police cruisers. Currently, the Los Angeles Police Department is testing two of Tesla's Model S P85Ds as potential police cars. The two cars were sent to the LAPD last year and are going through the rigorous evaluation process as they are fully vetted by the police force.

LAPD Police Administrator Vartan Yegiyan told CNBC that "Tesla definitely stepped up [with the Model S]." Yegiyan added that the LAPD are assessing "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 high-pursuit-rated vehicle arena."

While the price for the Model S isn't practical at around $70,000 for the cheapest model, according to the LAPD, the government agency doesn't want to be left out in the dark, pun intended, once electrification becomes less expensive. And prices will come down; see the upcoming Model 3. Tesla though, isn't far from being competitive as current LAPD police cruisers can cost anywhere between $45,000-$50,000.

Besides the Tesla Model S, the LAPD is also testing the electric BMW i3. The i3 uses a carbon fiber monocoque and can come with an onboard gas-engine range extender. These aren't the only electric vehicles the LAPD has either. Over 20 electric scooters and half dozen motorcycles have also been purchased by the agency.

The Model S does offer benefits that a normal police car wouldn't, including silent running giving the police the ability to sneak up on suspects. Additionally, much of a cop car's life is spent idling and wasting fuel; this would become mute with a Model S or any EV. Instantaneous torque would also benefit officers during high-speed pursuits with the ability to get around suspects quicker, arresting the dangerous situation.

While it's unlikely that we will see any Teslas in the LAPD's roster soon, it would be interesting to see a fully electric police car, although not in our rear-view mirrors.