Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


The LAPD Is Playing With Two Shiny New Tesla Cop Cars

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

For the past year or so, the LAPD has been testing a pair of loaned Tesla Model S cars in a quest to learn a little bit more about how high-performance electric vehicles function as police cruisers. While the department doesn't have a resounding opinion in either for or against the Teslas in particular, LAPD seems to think there is potential (get it?) in a future electric fleet, according to CNBC.

Tesla originally loaned LAPD the cars last year, signaling that the car company is interested in expanding its market to include the vast and lucrative American law enforcement enterprise. Police departments don't use electric cars as of now, but the cars' easy maintenance and superior performance are all potential boons for law enforcement.

Vartan Yegiyan, LAPD's Police Administrator, explained to CNBC how the goal of Tesla's relationship with LAPD is "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."

Despite the positives, the biggest negative of electrified police cruisers is the fact that they depend on the electric grid for energy. This is fine for every day police work. But situations, like for example a major earthquake, that compromise the power grid would also compromise the ability of law enforcement to use its vehicles.

Support for LAist comes from

Well, that, and the fact they're extremely expensive. A new Model S runs close to $100,000, as Jalopink points out.

Yegiyan continued:

Is it practical now? No. [But over] the next three to five years... not only will the industry push toward electrification, but prices will drop on vehicles. More models will be coming out, and the electricity and electrical grid will become more robust, and more charging stations will be available. While that's occurring we'll be in the space learning and contributing to the process.

Time will tell, though it's certainly kind of cool to see the LAPD livery on an electric car. All this future talk though has us wondering, what happens when all the cars are robots?