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Tesla and LAPD working to retrofit a Model S with equipment for police patrol


Earlier this year, we reported on the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) testing Tesla Model S sedans as ‘high-pursuit’ police cruisers. The automaker loaned two Model S P85Ds to the department, but they were testing the vehicles stock without any police equipment other than what has been done on the exterior as seen on the pictures above.

After a few months of evaluation, we now learn that the LAPD and Tesla are going forward and working together to retrofit one of the loaned Model S’s with equipment for police patrol.

The initiative is part of a city-wide effort to convert the municipal fleet to electric transport.

Last year, the city of Los Angeles announced that it will lease 288 electric vehicles, including 160 fully-electric vehicles (BEVs), which resulted in Los Angeles operating the largest city-owned fleet of pure electric vehicles.

A lot of those vehicles went to the LAPD which started taking delivery of 100 BMW i3s earlier this summer, but unlike the Tesla vehicles, BMW’s cars are only used “as transportation vehicles for officers and in community outreach initiatives”.

Vartan Yegiyan, ‎Director of Police Transportation at City of Los Angeles, is overseeing the deployment of the BMW i3 fleet and he told NBC-LA last week that “in many cases [the EVs] are driven by sworn officers to crime scenes or in the course of investigations”, which is a first for electric vehicles in LA.

Yegiyan notes that the i3 is better suited for its use than the traditional gas-powered car it replaced, but also that faster acceleration and longer range is needed for patrol vehicles.

That’s why they are using the Tesla Model S to benchmark electric vehicles as potential patrol vehicles.

Yegiyan says that they are now working with Tesla on an agreement to retrofit one of the Model S P85Ds with all the necessary equipment for police patrol:

“They will have an active role equipping this vehicle,”

The Tesla Model S P85D with Ludicrous mode is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds and has a range of around 250 miles, which makes it better suited to be a police patrol car.

Of course, it’s only for benchmarking electric vehicles as potential patrol vehicles since the $100,000+ price tag of the P85D is not in LAPD’s price range, but if the tests are successful, the department would then be tracking other future performance electric vehicles, possibly from Tesla, at better price points.

They have to look at the entire ownership cost since with potential savings on gas and maintenance, they can afford to look at vehicles with higher price tags than the $30,000s and $40,000s cars they are currently buying from  Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge.

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