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Tesla and the LAPD testing the Model S as a ‘high-pursuit’ police cruiser


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. Among the selection of vehicles distributed to the city’s different departments, the LAPD got a Tesla Model S P85D.

At the time, the department said that the Model S will be used for “testing and research by (LAPD) technical experts to determine how this technology can support their future needs”. Now we learn that the vehicle is being tested as a ‘high-pursuit’ police cruiser.

LAPD Police Administrator Vartan Yegiyan talking with CNBC:

“Tesla definitely stepped up and gave us the Model S to do some evaluation with them. Tesla is working with the agency 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.”

Los Angeles’s police department reportedly now has two Model S P85D to conduct the tests. Yegiyan added that if the LAPD was to go forward with electric cars, it wouldn’t be for another 3 to 5 years:

“Is it practical now? No. 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.”

Yegiyan added that the LAPD buys on average about 600 to 750 vehicles each year, representing a total cost of up to $30 million. It would represent a significant contract for a company like Tesla.

While electric cars would be new for the LAPD’s patrols, the officers are already familiar with electric vehicles. The department purchased “23 electric scooters and 3 electric motorcycles” for patrol. We previously reported on the LAPD using Zero’s popular electric motorcycles.

A Tesla Model S P85D with a ‘Ludicrous’ battery upgrade can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. It is software-limited to a top speed of 155 mph, but could theoretically go up to around 200 mph if it wasn’t locked to protect the battery pack.

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