The Los Angeles Police Department recently added two electric cars to its enforcement fleet.
The department purchased a BMW i3 and a Tesla Model S. The i3 will be used to handle neighborhood patrols and traffic enforcement while the Model S is expected to be used as a pursuit vehicle.
By all accounts, the Tesla Model S is a very fast car that can keep up with most vehicles in a police chase. It accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge.
According to an International Business Times report however, the Tesla Model S is not the ideal car for police pursuits for a number of reasons.
The Tesla Model S is being marketed and sold as a luxury vehicle. The price tag on a civilian version of the car is $70,000, and it isn’t as fast as the version the LAPD will have. This means that after the department customizes the car with all the accessories police vehicles have, it will be paying close to $100,000 for the vehicle.
#LAPD: @LAPDChiefBeck speaking at the news conference on Historic Transition to Green Energy Vehicles. pic.twitter.com/n1KdFOrX8F
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) September 11, 2015
The cost of the car isn’t the only thing the LAPD has to worry about. The maintenance costs for a customized car are also going to be higher than average. Police cars like the Dodge Charger and the Ford Crown Victoria were inexpensive to maintain because the parts were reasonably priced.
Another reason given for why the Tesla Model S isn’t a suitable police car is the fact that it won’t be able to handle sustained car chases. There is no question that the car is fast, but there are concerns that it may not be able to handle long car chases.
If a Model S is in a prolonged high-speed chase, it will lose some of its acceleration advantage. Prolonged acceleration heats the battery systems of the Model S and the car automatically reduces power. The reduction in power means that the Model S is not able to travel at top speeds during a long pursuit.
The final reason is that the Model S isn’t built to handle the type of abuse that police cars typically endure.
Cars like the Ford Crown Victoria and Dodge Charger were built specifically to handle the abuse, and again, cost a lot less to repair if they get damaged.