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LAPD Goes Green, Adds 100 Electric BMWs To Their Fleet

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Community outreach has a new set of wheels (Photo by mariordo59 via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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The Crown Victoria has become synonymous with law enforcement. The sirens don't even have to come on; you spot a Crown Vic up ahead and you immediately ease up on the gas pedal.

Some LAPD officers will be driving a different car, however, and it'll look a lot less menacing than one of those gargantuan, black/white Crown Vic Interceptors. As reported by the L.A. Times, BMW has signed a contract to lease 100 of its all-electric i3 models to the LAPD. The contract is part of a three-year agreement.

Even though the cars are being leased, the LAPD is reserving $1.5 million to build 104 charging stations, reports L.A. Weekly. The stations can fully charge a car within an hour, and should be more cost-efficient than the gas pump, said Police Chief Charlie Beck.

The contract comes as part of the city's tilt towards more eco-friendly cars. Last year, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a commitment to lease 288 electric vehicles to give Los Angeles the largest fleet of city-owned pure-electric vehicles, Electrek reported. Currently, L.A. has about 200 electric vehicles being driven by different city departments.

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In May, we reported that the LAPD had been experimenting with the Tesla Model S "to assess the vehicle's performance." The Model S was being tested as a possible "high-pursuit" cruiser, according to Electrek. But it looks like the i3 beat out the Model S for the contract.

The i3, which gets about 170 horsepower, is slower than the Model S. As such, the i3 will be exclusively used for "community outreach," not for chases or patrols. So, no, the i3 won't be in the next Fast and Furious installment.

According to BMW, the i3 can go 80 miles with a single charge. Some cars include a "range extender"—basically a bigger battery—that allows the cars to go 150 miles on one charge. If you want to get your hands on one yourself, you'll have to pay upwards of $40,000. Though, thanks to the State's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, you may save up to $2,500 from rebates on the i3.