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Level 2 charge of the light-bar brigade: BMW to supply LAPD with 100 electric i3s

BMW won its bid after the LAPD tested several different EVs in everyday situations.

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announce a year long test of a BMW i3 electric vehicle at a City of Los Angeles press conference in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2015. Photo by Danny Moloshok/Newscast
Danny Moloshok

You'll never hear 'em sneaking up on you in the midst of criminal activity. While that's not the explicit goal of adding electric vehicles to the Los Angeles Police Department's fleet, it's fun to think about Johnny Law catching criminals in silent cruisers. After evaluating several different EVs, the LAPD announced that BMW will supply the department with 100 examples of its i3 electric city car.

"We should be thinking green in everything we do -- and these new EVs show how local government can lead," said LA's Mayor Garcetti in a statement. "Our sustainability plan pushes LA to speed adoption of greener practices and technologies, which also save money and resources."

That's the real crux of the purchasing decision. It's efficient, and its ConnectedDrive services can be used for fleet management. Add in BMW's service network and involvement in charging infrastructure, and baby, you've got yourself a stew that's not especially taxing on the palate that is the LAPD's limited resources.

Sadly, with its limited range and OK acceleration figures, the i3 won't be used in pursuits. Instead, these cars will function as officer transportation and community-outreach vehicles.

To make sure the batteries are always topped off, the LAPD is working with Greenlots, which will provide the department with 100 Level 2 chargers and four DC fast chargers. BMW will also develop a web tool that will help the LAPD track its cars in real time, which should make the whole thing that much more efficient.

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