Tesla pursuing police cruiser market with Model S: report


Simulation of Tesla Model S as a police cruiser

Simulation of Tesla Model S as a police cruiser

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As one of the handful of electric cars that is widely available worldwide, the Tesla Model S has taken on many roles since its 2012 launch.

Various taxi services use it, and one company is even trying to convert a Model S into a limousine.

But instead of shuttling people to airports, how effective would the Model S be at chasing down criminals?

DON'T MISS: LAPD Gets Tesla Model S, BMW i3 Electric Cars As Police Cruisers (Sep 2015)

The Los Angeles Police Department began testing two Model S P85D sedans last year, leading to a speculative report on Tesla's interest in the police-car market by CNBC.

Electric police cars could save city governments money on fuel, and reduce air pollution.

Their lack of engine noise could also reduce stress among officers, and make it easier to sneak up on the bad guys.

LAPD Tesla Model S P85D

LAPD Tesla Model S P85D

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The Model S specifically has some qualities that would seem to make it well suited to police work.

The base Model S 70 is rear-wheel drive (other models are all-wheel drive), the configuration preferred by police departments.

Even with the smallest-available 70-kilowatt-hour battery pack, it has an EPA-rated range of 234 miles.

ALSO SEE: Is The Tesla Model S Electric Car The Perfect Police Cruiser? (Motor Authority)

The luxury sedan's five-door hatchback body should also offer plenty of space for equipment—and room in back for perps.

In addition, the lack of a central tunnel frees up space in front for computers, radios, and other police equipment.

Space for these items is constrained by the tall center consoles in police cruisers from Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge.

2016 Tesla Model S

2016 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

Granted, there are some drawbacks.

The Model S 70 starts at $71,200, much higher than the prices of traditional police cars bought at municipal-fleet rates.

That would likely strain municipal budgets, and possibly incite the ire of taxpayers who see police officers tooling around in luxury sedans.

MORE: Electric Police Cars? Seattle Uses Nissan Leafs For Traffic Enforcement (Apr 2015)

It's also unclear whether Tesla Motors would be able to handle larger fleet orders, or how profitable they might prove.

The company's current annual production totals are a mere fraction of those of Ford, Chevy, and Dodge, which regularly deliver fleets of police cars to departments around the country.

Still, many city governments are intrigued by the benefits of electric police cars.

2016 Tesla Model S

2016 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

In addition to the pair of Teslas, the LAPD is testing a BMW i3, and has already purchased 20 electric scooters and about half a dozen electric motorcycles.

The city government wants electric cars to represent 80 percent of municipal-fleet vehicle purchases by 2025.

Seattle already uses Nissan Leaf electric cars for traffic enforcement.

And even the tiny Mitsubishi i-MiEV is employed by police agencies in Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.K.

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