Los Angeles unveils puny BMW electric police car – USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES — The sight of a puny, electric-powered BMW police car with flashing red lights isn’t exactly going to instill fear in the hearts of this city’s criminals.
But on Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department showed off the newest member of its fleet, a black-and-white BMW i3, a diminutive electric car meant for tooling around downtowns, not necessary for a televised high-speed freeway chase.
BMW is loaning the not-so-intimidating police cruiser to the force for a year as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s desire to get more electric or plug-in cars into the city’s fleet.
“Today, we take another step toward becoming the most sustainable city in America,” said Garcetti in prepared remarks. “This year, Los Angeles will become home to the largest city-owned fleet of pure battery electric vehicles anywhere in the country, and we will save taxpayer dollars along the way.”
The police department, along with fire, general services, and water and power, will lease a total of 160 electric vehicles. Two departments, general services and water and power, will also lease a total of 128 plug-in hybrids.
The move could be boon to automakers, BMW included, which need to sell zero-emission vehicles under a state mandate. But with gas prices low and lower-range electric vehicles out of favor, the clean cars been a tough sell with consumers.
BMW is thrilled at L.A.’s move.
“The decision by the Los Angeles Police Department to undertake this evaluation highlights the compelling nature of the BMW i3 as a versatile, sustainable vehicle,” says Christine Fleischer, manager for BMW plug-in cars in the U.S. “The i3 is a brilliant fit with the technology-driven research philosophy of the LAPD.”
Though it’s not terribly fast and range per charge is limited, BMW says the i3 has a tight turning circle that will help maneuvering around L.A.