BMW Beats Tesla To Win LAPD Electric Car Contract

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Tesla loses an important contract to supply the LAPD with 100 electric vehicles. German automaker BMW won the contract to lease 100 of its i3 all-electric plug-in vehicles, which the Los Angeles Police Department is planning to use for community outreach and other police business. The electric cars will not be used for car chases or patrols.

Tesla better, but BMW affordable

BMW’s electric cars are considered weak and small in comparison to the electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla, but they are quite affordable. The German electric car has a price tag of $42,000, which is about half the price of a Tesla.

The BMWs will be leased for $387 a month, said Vartan Yegiyan, who supervises the LAPD’s motor transport division. Yegiyan said a three-year lease for the 100 electric vehicles will total around $1.4 million, including repairs and maintenance. In addition, it will cost an additional $1.5 million for the infrastructure to charge the BMWs and other EVs bought in the future, said Yegiyan.

With a range of almost 300 miles and top speeds suitable for high-speed chases, Teslas are capable of massive acceleration. In comparison, the smaller, more moderate BMWi3 accelerates quickly but has a lower top speed and on one electric charge, it can only go 80-100 miles. The i3 is available with a gas-engine “extender” that hikes the range to about 150 miles, but it is available for an additional fee.

The city will be using almost 200 electric vehicles in its various departments. The LAPD was seen testing a Tesla P85D last year. The P85D is a variant of the Model S that has been discontinued. The police department was looking at leasing or buying the replacement, the P90D, but later decided on the BMWi3.

What helped BMW seal the deal?

The German automaker said the LAPD’s decision was influenced by the large network of BMW “i centers,” which can service the electric cars. LAPD uses BMW motorcycles as well, and this may have helped seal the deal. Also 100 Level 2 and four DC fast chargers will be supplied to the LAPD by Greenlots, said the automaker. Greenlots is a California-based company that manages electric vehicle charging networks.

Going forward, the police department’s i3 lease could lead to a deal for cars that are more suitable for patrol work. The department was continuing to work with Tesla, BMW and other carmakers to create a more capable electric vehicle, said Police Chief Charlie Beck. Beck said they want to go to the next step.

He added, “They will absolutely be the patrol cars of the future.”

Further, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “We should be thinking green in everything we do,” and the adoption of electric cars will “also save money and resources.”

This fiscal year, the city is planning to acquire 100 additional electric vehicles, the mayor said.

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