By on June 8, 2016

OJ Simpson chased by a fleet of LAPD BMW i3s

The Los Angeles Police Department just inked a deal that will see 100 BMW i3 electric vehicles wear the iconic black-and-white paint job of their vehicle fleet.

BMW emerged the winner in a supply bid that saw the i3 and rival EVs vie for the LAPD contract. The force chose the slab-sided Bimmer for its reliability and connectivity, and for the company’s charging infrastructure and service network.

If you’re imagining the stubby i3s hanging their tails out as they slide around L.A. streets in hot pursuit of a suspect, think again. The EVs are bound for the LAPD’s non-emergency fleet, meaning officers will use the vehicles for basic transportation and community outreach.

“The attributes of the BMW i3 position it to excel as the ideal vehicle for municipal organizations,” said Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW of North America, in a statement. “The performance and technical capabilities, such as the BMW i3 ‘s acceleration, and its ConnectedDrive integration, are perfectly suited to transform the future mobility of the Los Angeles Police Department while also reducing their carbon footprint.”

Following field trials earlier this year, the LAPD rejected the Tesla Model S as a pursuit vehicle due to excessive cost and concerns about recharging. To monitor the new i3 fleet, which should roll out of precinct garages shortly, the vehicles’ data system will be integrated with the force’s fleet management system.

The contract is part of the city’s efforts to green its municipal vehicle fleet.

Small and tall, the BMW i3’s 22-kWh battery offers a range of 80 to 100 miles, while its electric motor is good for 170 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque.

[Image: @ 2016 Kevin McCauley/The Truth About Cars]

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71 Comments on “BMW Wins Bid to Supply LAPD With 100 Electric Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    Freddie

    Politically correct waste of tax dollars. For light duty, non-emergency use just hang onto retired Crown Victorias instead of selling them to cab companies.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I know a guy who’s a large fleet manager, and I’ve asked him the same question.

      The numbers don’t work-out, no matter what people think. It’s provably cheaper to sell-off old fleet cars rather than to try to nurse them. Time is money, and you need to pay employees when they are waiting for a tow truck. You pay twice, because another crew will be out in another car, doing the job that the first crew should have been doing. That’s before you account for the repair costs and the extra logistics.

      So you’ve got several extra bodies on the payroll, with full benefits and whatnot, and your fleet costs have gone up, not down. It’s a lose-lose.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Freddie – political correctness would of meant a purchase of an American brand.

      @HeavyHandle – agreed. Old vehicles are poison in a fleet, especially Emergency services or for profit industry.

      The company my brother works for has tried different fleet options and for them it isn’t worth keeping a pickup for more than three years or 100,000 km.

      My municipality hangs on to everything to the bitter end and ironically their workers aren’t the most productive bunch.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The i3 is a nice-driving car (but small inside), and obviously cheaper than a Model S.

    But I count roughly 15 SAE fast chargers in Los Angeles – all of them privately owned – so I wonder how the city plans to charge them while deployed.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    This makes no sense, the Chevy Volt is better in every way, and can actually engage in a pursuit if it has to.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      These won’t be used in pursuit.
      They’re strictly for executions by electrocution.

      • 0 avatar

        A hybrid makes more sense, Volt or not.

        Here’s a question. How long can one of these things sit stationary with all it’s flashing lights and radio equipment running? Sometimes a cruiser has to just sit on an accident scene running lights for hours.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          I’m betting there are Volts, C-Max’s, etc also in the fleet. A lot of municipalities are using C-Max’s I see.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          It doesn’t sound like these things won’t be used that way, they will be used by detectives or similar kind of non emergency uses. If they do go out on an emergency type of call it will be the captain or crime scene specialist, who got called out because of the nature of the incident and there will be a 1/2 dozen other cars out there.

          • 0 avatar

            Still, less than 100 miles a day sounds like an awful low mileage for any kind of cop car.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            David,

            100 miles would be a light day for a patrol vehicle, but it does happen. 100-150 is typical for a city crawler with a limited patrol area. A highway cruiser would obviously put on quite a bit more.

            It becomes even more problematic because at the end of the shift, the car doesn’t go to the charger. It goes to the officer(s) working the next shift.

            This is a long way of me saying that you’re 100% correct for a patrol vehicle. For a non-patrol vehicle a 100 mile range would be adequate.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Compaq Deskpro,
      You made a big call stating that the Chevy Volt is better in every way.

      You will find as in many arrangements of this type that a package was offered.

      The package most likely included maintenance, downtime costs, etc.

      This deal by LAPD is better for LA. If GM had a deal and it costs more overall for the LAPD to operate EVs vehicles then I would of been p!ssed at the city.

      Maybe GM should of offered a more competitive deal.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I remember back in the day, THP (Tennessee Highway Patrol) was going to get a few M5s from BMW, but the deal fell through because BMW wanted the officers to wear a BMW Roundel on their uniforms. THP, at the time, didn’t want to look like they were advertising and backed out of the deal. Maybe one day, uniforms will look like racing suits…full of endorsements!

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Anyone getting a ticket from the THP would associate the unhappy experience with BMW… and be more likely to hold negative feelings toward BMW. They came out better in this deal, whether they realize it or not.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Idiotic.

  • avatar
    alff

    I’m sure LA’s undercover meter maids will appreciate the BMW’s stealth.

  • avatar

    I don’t know where to start with my objections to this idea so I’ll just move on.

    The photoshopped photo of the OJ chase made me laugh. Well done.

  • avatar
    FOG

    Once again California intentionally shuns a better product, the Volt, for a foreign brand. I don’t miss having to travel there on business.

  • avatar

    The base price of an i3 is $42,400 according to Google.

    A typical cop car, the Dodge Charger, starts at $27,995.

    Is LA hoping to snag a new factory or something?

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Unfortunately, the article provides ZERO sources, so there’s no way to check on the following:

    – What were the prices paid in the deal, versus similar ICE vehicles?
    – Were the bids for competing vehicles (I’d bet the volt, maybe prius?) public? Or at least listed somewhere?
    – given the private charging network, was the charging infrastructure discussed outside the comment in the article.

    Aside from the other things Steph could have done:

    – Research the amount of fuel usually consumed by ICE police vehicles, versus savings on charging
    – Any similar agreements with other cities elsewhere? Any idea how electric non-emergency vehicle use turned out for them? Any challenges they had to overcome?

    I am disappointed, mostly that there isn’t even a link for more information in the article itself. Steph, I’m sorry to call you out, but you’re being lazy here.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah I can’t believe that there isn’t even a mention of the other bidders. You would think that Ford and GM would be putting out proposals for the Focus EV, Fusion Hybrid/Energi and Volt given the volume and the fact that they are the two big players in Police fleets.

    • 0 avatar

      The story is based on a release distributed by BMW to media.

      But let’s talk about all the other concerns you raise.

      We have a very thin “front line” at TTAC. Because of that, we need to pick and choose how much time we put into each story. Since this is one where I thought there would be limited appeal, we provided the basics. If I thought there was going to be more interest up front, I would have allotted more time toward the piece.

      • 0 avatar
        NickS

        Mark, you guys should consider doing a digest piece with various news tidbits like this. If both the highly-hyperlinked and well-researched, and here-say pieces appear the same way on the website, most readers will find it confusing.

        I don’t think anyone expects you guys to be firing on 12 pots like LAT, BG, NYT, WaPo, or Bloomberg but a simple link to the source is a bit like leveraging their strength (if it’s from the press), or exposing their weakness (press release, ad copy). In other words, if it was a press release from BMW usa say so. You guys know better than the B&B that what companies put out is not the whole truth.

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        Understood, mark. But we’re fairly smart folks, if you can even provide at least *one* external link per article, we can do our own research. It’s fairly rare in this day and age for *any* site to post unreferenced, non-opinion pieces, right?

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    So here we have an American government agency buying a import product AND from a luxury nameplate? I’m not usually one to bark about government excess, but buying a luxury vehicle for a police cruiser (be it a BMW, Cadillac, etc) is just insipid.

    Suppose it does fit the California ideals of imported, overpriced and snotty brand though :)

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Are you upset because of “foreign” or because of “luxury”?

      The i3 is hardly a luxury car.
      If I recall, the bikes in Chips (1970s TV series) were foreign too. I guess they could have waited a year or two for a domestic brand to make an equivalent car, but they had a need right now.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The i3’s carbon fiber is made in Moses Lake, Washington.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        “The i3’s carbon fiber is made in Moses Lake, Washington.”

        I guess that deal went through. I had to make a trip out to Moses Lake back in 2009, because that factory may have been an impact to an operation my employer does out there.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Maybe they should go back to Segways and bicycles for community outreach and basic transportation.

    That way they are REALLY out there among the public.

  • avatar

    I can see them being useful for parking enforcement/around town patrolling. I am sure maintenance costs will be lower with no engine to worry about, but I wonder if it would be enough to cover the added initial cost.

    Depending on the numbers, could be a realistic way to go for a portion of the LAPD patrol cars, or an expensive “feel good” stunt.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    no wonder they’re almost bankrupt

  • avatar
    carguy

    So the car chase ends once the battery runs out?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    If BMW wants to *give* them to the LAPD, fine. Sell them? No.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    No “buy California” clause in the contract?

    No Muskmobiles?

    Somebody photoshop the OJ pic with a fleet of Model X’s chasing him flapping their falcon wing doors like birds of prey.

  • avatar
    bricoler1946

    It’s not unusual for a government agency to buy ” foreign” I remember seeing in England the police driving 5 series BMW’s and police motorcyclist riding BMW bikes, after all we’re living in the global economy. Perhaps BMW gave the California police a deal for buying 100 i3’s.

  • avatar
    dartman

    Typical TTAC dumb-ass style of “just no facts ma’am”; one has to do a little research to see that maybe LAPD procurement services didn’t do such a bad deal on their bid after all….

    http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-lapd-chooses-bmw-20160608-snap-story.html

    The LA Times article is a good example of a real reporter, interviewing real sources, to provide real information. God help us all if we ever completely lose real journalists and press.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      This right here.

      So, including charging infrastructure, LAPD gets these for $30k a pop, and that’s before factoring in fuel savings over the life of these vehicles.

      Steph, what the hell? Why didn’t you link to any of this available information? You don’t think the B&B could have had a more informed and informative debate with some details thrown in?

      I’m still amazed you posted this without a source link. Even a Wikipedia drone can make that effort :(

      • 0 avatar
        NickS

        I am piling on, but SW’s pieces don’t have what I need. The motivation is always some variation of “what if that happened”, so more of a writer (and perhaps quite good?), less of a journo (at least the kind I like, with rigor, etc). The news bot was better.

        Indeed, what would we do if all the good ones went away.

      • 0 avatar

        Again, we cannot provide every single detail for every single story. If we did that, we’d end up with four or five stories a day tops. That’s the reality. We need to pick and choose where we put our efforts. This was a story I thought was interesting to cover, but didn’t require a full dig.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for comparing TTAC to the LA Times.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “Thanks for comparing TTAC to the LA Times.”

        I’m sure you guys have exactly the same resource to put behind your reporting, right?

        smh…

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    That’s a great picture !

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    CARB could probably have helped them get 200 e-Golfs for the same price. I’ve heard they have some contacts at VW.

  • avatar
    jammyjo

    One has to factor in the downtime for nothing else other than charging. Old Crown Vic could be run 3 shifts a day.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Why is TTAC such a sh!t site to use?

    I do know Mark keeps on advising us the “something” is being done to repair the slowness of the site. But what is being done, it appears to be running slower and slower.

    Why is it, every time you open an article it reloads all the sh!t again and again and again. You get all of the ad.crwd, ad.google, ad. this an add dot that. Or your computer is waiting for “thetruthaboutcars.com” and scores of other files that are really of no relevance.

    Is the portal that allow us access to the site that inadequate only one or two people can go through it?

    Is it TTAC’s owners are that fncking tight with money they don’t realise that many potential people will just walk away from this site due to its archaic and antiquated software or the lack of a decent server or whatever the fnck is reducing the quality of using this fncked up site?

    I do realise advertisements are needed to pay for the site. So, why not modernise this site and become apart of the 2000’s.

    Or, fire the so called “IT experts” that set the site up and employ those that can actually make this site work more efficiently.

    This site runs like a poorly planned city lacking infrastructure. It just bogs down and becomes virtually inoperative.

    Why is it it keeps on reloading TTAC. I constantly have TTAC reloaded that many times that I don’t even know how many times TTAC reloads.

    Mark, I do realise TTAC’s owners pay your bills, but fnck me dead, speak up and tell the owner how fncking sh!tful this site is to use.

    If the site operated better more will visit and more can be gained by advertising, so long as you guys (TTAC) stop just tacking in ads that bog the site down.

    I’d bet my balls if the owners received the service this site produces they would give the business a miss. Why don’t they stop being tight a$$es and invest money that will likely be well spent.

    Why do the ads require all of the sh!t files attached? Why can’t the ads just be links? So, if I want to look at the ad it will then load the files needed to view it.

    How fncking hard is it to run a business. Even developing world sites don’t have the issues this site has.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      VerticalScope is a digital slumlord.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Are you SURE you want to bet your balls? You haven’t much to lose. Maybe you’re a low man on the bandwidth totem pole. The site’s ridiculously fast for me.

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      Are you using a TRS-80 or a C-64 ?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Actually, the TRS-80 might be pretty good since you’d probably use a port of something similar to lynx that would strip out images and javascript etc. I just tested the site with Lynx and it wasn’t bad.

        My comments weren’t about the speed anyway. They were more about the sites numerous other issues. I have also seen the ttac servers stall out a bit a couple of times over the last few days. I think I even had a status message to that effect. That might even be related to the fact I have a fast connection and fast machines. I usually access the internet from fairly powerful machines running lightweight operating systems (no MS Windows) over 100 megabit fiber, so I have good access.

    • 0 avatar

      You aren’t the only one experiencing slowness. I get it here too and constantly complain. I’ll put up a post today offering everyone instructions on how they can report issues. Maybe we can force certain folks to pay attention if the B&B makes enough noise.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        Yeah, it’s irritating. I have Flash disabled in Chrome specifically because of TTAC; if I don’t the browser will slow to a crawl in short order. And don’t get me started on how often (also in Chrome) as TTAC pages finish loading, the scroll bar will disappear leaving me locked onto a snippet of an unscrollable page. How is it possible to screw up a WordPress blog this badly?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Slowness” is a term I first heard in 2009 when my then employer rolled out a terrible new multi tiered product which utilised Nhibernate for database access. Nhibernate is a .NET port for Hibernate which is an ORM. ORMs are libraries you import to pass objects to in order to generate SQL, so lazy programmers do not have to understand database design or query concepts. Depending on how the ORM is mapped, your database is designed, and the network infrastructure the ORM may be causing the slowness as it did for us in 09/10. I highly doubt anyone is going to do anything about it since you are just using wordpress, but these are my thoughts.

        Greetings from Zurich.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      The problem isn’t the server or the WP implementation, AFAIK – it’s the ad system being stacked on top of it all. When the ad implementation crashes the flash player (as it often does) the site is super fast; the problem is a combination of Flash being vulnerable to insanely horrible code, the ad network having insanely horrible code, and Chrome not sandboxing Flash well enough to avoid it poisoning the rest of the UI. There’s nothing Mark can do about it aside from, as he said, getting the B&B to exert pressure on TTAC’s owners to switch ad networks.

      The problem with *that* is that it would require up-front resources in terms of manpower to find a new ad provider, the time to redo all their backend code that sets everything up, etc. So even though it might easily pay off in a few months, it can be really hard (or sometimes impossible depending on cash flow) to do *right now*.

      Business is hard.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The good news is that ad providers are slowly migrating away from Flash as Google and others start to block them for security reasons.

        In the meanwhile, you can load EFF’s Privacy Badger plugin on Chrome or Firefox (www.eff.org/privacybadger), which blocks spying ads and invisible trackers. This gets rid of the worst offenders, while still providing TTAC revenue from legit advertisers.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Why select a BMW by fiat when they could’ve selected a Fiat by fiat? A 500e, that is.

  • avatar

    The i3 for current production can be ordered with a 33 kWh battery, offering about 40% more range than the old 22 kWh battery. (Not 50% more because the new battery is a bit heavier).

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I dropped by Police Supply to say ‘Hi’ to my old chums and one was loading up a new black and white BMW , I took a quick photo of it (iPod,blurry dammit) but there’s no way to share it here…..
    .
    -Nate


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