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LAPD may roll out a Tesla Model S police car as soon as 2017

Published Oct 17th, 2016 11:00PM EDT
Tesla Model S Police Cars
Image: Tesla

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A few months ago, we reported that the Los Angeles Police Department was contemplating adding a few Tesla Model S vehicles to their fleet. With Tesla loaning the LAPD two Model S P85D vehicles for evaluation, LAPD Police Administrator Vartan Yegiyan explained that the underlying goal was to determine how the luxury sedan would perform in a city environment and to ascertain any benefits and drawbacks it would introduce as an everyday patrol car.

What’s more, the LAPD also indicated that they were evaluating the Tesla Model S’ capabilities as a high-pursuit vehicle, altogether not terribly surprising the Model S’ reputation for speed.

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Now comes word via NBC Los Angeles that the LAPD’s flirtation with Tesla is progressing quite a bit. Whereas the LAPD previously conducted private testing with the Model S, the latest report relays that the LAPD will now be outfitting a Model S with police equipment and electronics whereupon it will actually use it as a patrol car in the real world.

As part of the LAPD’s effort to become more environmentally friendly, NBC notes that the “LAPD will equip a Tesla sedan for patrol duty and then field test its suitability.” Tesla will reportedly assist the LAPD in its efforts to outfit the Model S with all the requisite police gear.

If all goes according to plan, Yegiyan said that he hopes to have an operational Model S in the field as early as 2017.

The LAPD of course is no stranger to EVs. This past summer, the police department acquired 100 BMW i3s for non-emergency situations. The LAPD notes that while the i3s are helpful, they lack the requisite power and range that the LAPD needs from field-ready patrol car.

Should the Model S perform well, we still shouldn’t expect to see the LAPD fleet become Tesla heavy anytime soon. Yegiyan explained that Tesla’s today are still too expensive but added that once the cost of the cars go down, the LAPD will be ready.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.