LAPD's Green Fleet Goes Back On Sale

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
lapds green fleet goes back on sale

In 2014, Mayor Eric Garcetti wanted to show Los Angeles that he would take an active role in spearheading “environmental justice,” announcing several initiatives to combat the city’s notorious air pollution.

One of those efforts involved transitioning government-owned fleets towards battery power and hybridization. By the following year, the LAPD announced it was ready to consider contracts with various automakers ready to help provide the non-emergency administrative unit (which was new at the time) with a fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles.

BMW ultimately won out, resulting in a fleet of i3 hatchbacks — some of which were painted and given lights for traffic enforcement duties or other light police work (e.g. community outreach). The leasing agreement kicked off in 2016 and ultimately cost taxpayers over $10,200,000 when combined with the charging infrastructure that had to be installed to support them. But the department and the mayor started taking heat after the public learned the vehicles were hardly ever used for police business, resulting in a minor scandal.

Notifying the world that the program seems to have been a massive waste of resources didn’t change anything, however. Most vehicles saw little use through 2019 and many are now being sold by the dealership that initially leased them to the LAPD.

According to BMW Blog, California’s New Century BMW started selling the former fleet vehicles with exceptionally low millage for extremely low prices in August. While plenty seem to have already been taken, the site should continue to get a fresh supply as it helped the manufacturer supply the city with 100 cars per year.

From BMW Blog:

The dealership which provided the cars, New Century BMW, is now selling all of them as CPO models. Almost all of them have low miles, under 20,000 miles, and they’re all the same spec. All LAPD BMW i3 BEVs are in the Deka World trim, with the standard 19″ wheels and the older 22 kWh battery pack, despite newer models having been given bigger battery packs. So they only have about 81 miles of max range, at least when new.

If you want a used BMW i3, it might be difficult to pass up this offer. Despite the fact that they’re all base-spec cars that aren’t exactly stylish, though they do come in the desirable “Panda” color scheme. To offset the lack of choice, they are all quite cheap. All LAPD BMW i3 models can be had for under $20,000, which is a steal for a carbon fiber-tubbed BMW EV that retailed for almost $50,000 when new.

We wouldn’t go so far as to call this a stellar deal. Electric vehicles have evolved rather quickly, and the i3 is a good example of that. Old EVs are about as desirable as a vintage smartphone while internal-combustion vehicles tend to age more gracefully.

Still, if you are seriously committed to the environment, the i3 does have an impressively small carbon footprint, and buying a used one is actually better for the planet than splurging on a new electric. Just make sure it’s capable of handling your daily driving responsibilities. Lackluster range was cited as one of the chief reasons the cars were claimed not to be used by the LAPD with any regularity.

[Image: BMW Group]

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2 of 31 comments
  • Snakebit Snakebit on Sep 05, 2020

    Just as Domino's Pizza has special delivery vehicles, why don't the local Panda Express outlets make a deal for a number of them, now that Los Angeles and the nation are in largely take-out/delivery mode.

  • PandaBear PandaBear on Sep 06, 2020

    Multiple problems with this deal: 1) They picked a loser, BMW i3 is a bad car for the range and you can see that they are just useless. They should have picked a plug in prius, fusion, or Tesla. But they didn't write the spec right and let this loser of a car in. Heck, did they even order REX? No wonder people don't want to drive it. 2) The whole government fleet is just wasteful no matter what cars you buy, a few thousand miles a year sound about right. 3) They should have split up the charging infrastructure project from the car leasing project, so they don't take the political hit for wasting money on infrastructure. 4) Nobody would have though Tesla pulled off the publicity stunt, but at least they don't look stupid picking an EV deal, just the wrong car company to deal with. Had they gotten Tesla people would use it more and they would have gotten quite a bit of residual back in the end. 5) Had oil price gone to the roof like 2007 they would have looked like a smart decision, but oil price tanked. This is how predicting a future with investment look like, it would look smart or stupid depends on which way the market goes.

  • FreedMike “…former president Dmitry Medvedev recently took a trip to China and praised the country’s cars as being on par with Mercedes-Benz.”is that before or after the Tik Tok integration?
  • Pig_Iron I'm willing to bet most of these were improperly torqued. 🔧
  • Pig_Iron You can buy a focus sedan right in the USA. It's called a maverick. 😒
  • Pig_Iron Brown bag a ploughman's lunch. 💼
  • Pig_Iron I thought IBOC was supposed to bring about a renaissance in terrestrial radio? Too bad the FCC went with a proprietary standard. I listen to AM every day because it offers superior geopolitical current affairs news and analysis, and because it offers non-English language programming also. EVs and less choice make driving drudgery. 😔