The LAPD Is Actually Going To Outfit A Tesla Model S For Patrol Duty


We'll bet big bucks that this will be the world's only Tesla with a shotgun rack.

Earlier this year we reported that the Tesla Model S was deemed unfit for service by the Los Angeles Police Department. That news broke in May, and now some five months later it appears that the LAPD is reversing course. According to NBC Los Angeles, the department is planning to outfit a Model S P85D donated by Elon Musk (he actually donated two) for patrol duty. The EV will get a test run out on the street, this after it’s fitted with all the necessary gear a modern police car needs.

The LAPD Model S will have radios, a computer, locking shotgun rack and all the other bits and bobs needed to (potentially) escort a criminal from the streets to jail. Vartan Yegiyan, the assistant commander of the LAPD’s Administrative Services Bureau and the motor pool’s head honcho, told NBC Los Angeles that the car will be driven by an on-duty patrol sergeant. The car will be driven to emergencies and may even be used in pursuits. Obviously the latter scenario is more interesting for observers and the department. LA’s police force predicts that it’ll be five years before it starts replacing traditional cop cars—as in those powered by gas—with electric cars.

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The LAPD already has 100 BMW i3s in its fleet, these being used for non-emergency purposes. But there’s a big difference between detectives driving to and from a crime scene and patrol officers engaging in a high-speed pursuit. At the moment we doubt the battery of the Model S, even in top-tier 100D spec, could handle such stress. Hell, we don’t even know if it’d be able to take a day of patrolling the streets and freeways of Los Angeles. Although we doubt the Model S being tested by the LAPD will cut the mustard we are interested to see how it does. Musk’s cars are quite capable and we don’t doubt that the LAPD may find a place for them in its fleet after testing concludes.

If the Los Angeles Police Department does decide to add a Model S or two to its motor pool we think Elon Musk would be wise to cut them a discount. Having a Tesla in the fleet of one of the world’s largest and most iconic police forces would bring great visibility to the brand and help convince people that EVs are just as capable as conventional cars. Just imagine how much the Internet would freak out if a police chase in Los Angeles just so happened to feature a Model S using Ludicrous Mode to rocket after a fleeing perp. That’s publicity you can’t put a price on.

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