LAPD Hardly Using $10 Million Worth Of BMW i3 Police Cars – Video


The i3 cop cars aren’t doing donuts, just donut runs.

Remember all those BMW i3 hatchbacks that the Los Angeles Police Department adopted back in 2016? About 100 of them? Well, it appears as if they aren’t being used very much, or for the right reasons. At least, that’s the situation according to the local CBS news affiliate, KCBS-TV, whose David Goldstein mounted an investigation into the matter.

Los Angeles Police Department’s electric BMW i3 vehicles are seen in Los Angeles, Calif. on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Photo by Danny Moloshok/Newscast US

Using hidden cameras, stealth pursuits, and surprise confrontations, the news team found that police force officials are sometimes using the vehicles for personal errands, while use for their intended purpose — transportation vehicles for officers and in community outreach initiatives — has been somewhat lacking. Documents shown in the news video (above) reveal the mileage of many of the panda-patterned cars to be below 4,000 miles. One, which we imagine to be the worst case, only saw 600 miles on the streets since May of 2016. That doesn’t appear to be much usage.

Now, we don’t have a big problem with them being for burger runs and such if it’s replacing the use of a gas-powered car, but understand if Angelenos, who are picking up the $10.2 million tab for the vehicles, do. It’s not helpful for anyone to have poorly conceived and executed programs like this.

Confronted with evidence of personal trips to nail salons and school runs, LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas had this to say:

We want to be responsive to the community. It’s all a part of saving the Earth, going green … quite frankly, to try and save money for the community and the taxpayers.”

Besides that (somewhat unconvincing) statement, he promised reporters that he would look into what the reporters found. He did, though, claim the program is a success and expects more EVs to be added to the fleet. Of course, with electric cars being the future, we have to agree with him on that point. We just hope they are on the streets and not tucked away in their garage.

Source: KCBS-TV via YouTube

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40 Comments on "LAPD Hardly Using $10 Million Worth Of BMW i3 Police Cars – Video"

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Very humorous. The report just begs the question, however, that if you did the same comparisons with the “usual” LAPD fleet, looking at mileage logs, computing cents/mile and followed them around to see how they were actually being used, what the results would be. I have no doubt some of those wind up running trivial errands as well.

It’s true that i3’s are more expensive cars with less range than, for example, the Leaf. What they should be used for is parking enforcement, where there is a lot of stopping and starting. How sweet it would be to have one cracking down in ICE’ing!

Newsflash for the reporter folks….motor pool vehicles may not get a bunch of miles. I’ve seen decade old vehicles with only a few thousand miles.

But 600 miles in about 1.5 years? That’s average of 33 miles PER MONTH. What it shows is how incompetent government runs even when given great car like the i3.

All too common I think.

This is pretty much a typical example of the problem with feel good government policy. They mandated a police department to buy they either didn’t need, didn’t want, or didn’t need that many of just to make a green statement. A huge waste of tax payer money.

The tax payers of LA county should be pissed.

I smelled a Rat When I 1st Heard it. I wonder how many $$$ millions of kick back dollars the decision makers received from BMW . Tesla Wouldn’t Play Their game ?!

Or, BMW want’s to take advantage of the CA tax credits, in the CARB program. And the city probably got a very sweet lease arrangement for 100 a year. It might even be 1/2 off.

But, at least these cars are going to be great in the used car market in 3 years, where they will be used and driven by real citizens.

And the three year used car price will LITERALLY make these cars free to those smart enough to buy them. The fuel savings will pay for the car.

My thoughts as well. The lucky buyers of these when they come off lease will be well rewarded, other than the orca paint job 😉

Reminds me of something I heard about a place that had a fleet of Volts that no one ever charged, just running them on gas like any other car. When they went up for sale, lucky buyers could get a cheap Volt with a very gently used battery.

Guilty! 2015 Volt, 38k ICE miles -2.5k battery miles $14k. At this price and my current calculated savings of $2.5k / year compared to my 2009 ICE it will pay itself before the last payment on the relatively cheap loan I got (2.5%)! 🙂

I had the exact same thought. If they weren’t using these vehicles for donut runs or nail salon runs, then I suspect they’d be using gas burners for the same thing. Company cars get used for that sort of thing all of the time. Access to a company car is often considered an employee benefit.

You don’t know what “begging the question” means. Hint: It’s not that.

I guess it comes down to Mandatory ODOMETER Training.
Apparently everyone thinks they drive 200 miles a day, when they drive 20.
Bucause, the Fleet Manager KNOWs how much they drive a day.

But, only a FOOL would give up driving the Porsche of EV’s given the chance. This is a Luxury EV there, and it’s better than 99% of the cars on the road, only excepting Tesla.

Also, I suppose they need an introductory test drive with an instructor or something. Maybe the regen is scaring some of them off.

BIG DADDY SHIN: Trip Odometer Training!

Make this mandatory.
To answer questions like?
-How many miles do I drive a day?
-How many miles do I drive a week?
-How many miles do I drive before refilling the gas tank?

Deep Research: Apparently You Only have to “Hold it down till it resets”

Alternatively, there may be officers who love their big V8 engine cruisers who want this program to fail…

Personally, I can’t see the appeal, of a large, heavy, noisy truck in city traffic.

The i3 is literally a city sports car.
Humans, they are strange.
You’ve got to wonder how the purchasing manager feels.

Is he saying: “I gave the a PREMIUM sports car, nimble, quick, quite, easy to park with a great suspension and ride, and they’re not driving it.”

What do they want? The Chevy Cruze?
That’s depressing.

Also, can you imagine all the CLEAN AIR they’re giving up by not driving??? LA is in a pollution basin. This is the perfect car to help alleviate the POLLUTION.

Low mileage can have several reasons.
When all available cars are parked in a garage or lot, and are available to everyone in a car pool (not individually assigned vehicles), then the highest milage vehicles will always be the ones parked at the shortest disctance to the entrance, and the lowest milage is likely on the ones the furthest to walk to. These get only picked when everything else is checked out, which seldomly happens in a car pool, which has the purpose to have a car at hand at all times. Also, getting into an accident can put a car pool vehicle out of service for quite a while, if repairs are not immediately conducted for some reason (like cheaper rates when you bring a few to the shop at the same time).
If something happend to oneof the vehicles interior (like someone spilled food or drinks), that vehicle is no longer picked before it gets cleaned. However, spills are usually someones fault and thus seldomly reported to management, so cleaning may take a while.
If the vehilces are assigned to a person, the vehilce will not move if the person can’t drive for a while for e.g. health reasons.

If the miles are as low as stated, then at the least, they have far more of these than they need.

Not necessarily “of these” – but too many cars.

The fact that some used it to go get lunch is just petty. Especially since charging is included in the lease – it’s BMW and not the taxpayer that’s footing the (tiny) bill for such a trip.

And the case where the officer spent over two hours at a school and manicurist seems to me a question of what the heck she’s doing during work hours rather than how she drove there.

I’m sure some will somehow blame this on the fact that the cars are electric. But most people will be reasonable enough to blame the LAPD. Either they shouldn’t have got the cars or they shouldn’t have as many other cars…

Crazy mobile ad today from insiders. Really nasty one

That is one thing I do not like about this site

Only way around it is to close the browser.


Poparazzi !!

The program is a joke. Any officer in a BMW i3 getting donuts or doing community outreach cannot respond to an emergency. That stupid thing isn’t practical for a family much less for a cop. It’s great for SF yuppi getting coffee.

They don’t assign police to respond to emergencies 100 miles away. Literally, the distance won’t be more than 5 miles.
They have “police districts”.

Wow. that’s bad.

W0W That’s Government! It’s Never good ! Especially for the hard working Tax Payer!!Q!!!

Government is never good? Who the f*&#@ are you? You keep gracing these pages with your stupid, brainless comments. Do you even own an EV? Nobody needs to hear from you. Just go away. Better yet, go live in Somalia.

Hey Dan, Ban yourself or take a chill pill already.

If you’re going to grab lunch for the office, it may as well be with an EV rather than an ICE.

They should loan these out to LAPD employees on a weekly basis if they want to increase vehicle miles traveled on these cars.

That’s dumb logic. If taxpayer money is to be used just to get 100 gas powered cars off the road, just buy 100 i3s and hand them out to random people in the community. It would likely be even more effective because there would be no operational restrictions on the cars as there is with the LAPD.

No, it is better to be wise and conserve the taxpayer money and only buy things that are actually needed. Clearly these cars are a waste of taxpayer money.

That might be a good city plan.
Because fleet managers get great prices.
Maybe LA can act as a fleet manager for say 10,000 of these a year??? That would be a great idea.

That is a great idea, how long do you think it would take the automakers if a city, or big organisation, did this?

Yes, they should sell off about 80-90% of these i3s, since they are being so little used.

That would recoup at least some of the money the city wasted buying these cars, and also put those EVs into the hands of people who are much more likely to drive them on a daily basis.

They should have bought the Tesla’s

Well, get ready LA! I can guarantee that i3 usage at the Department is about to set records now that the little secret is out.

Oh, the tragic incompetence of cops everywhere…!

As some people noted above, it’s relevant to know what mileage equivalent non-EV cars are seeing.
Otherwise, most commenters are missing the point. The real problem is use of cars, period — not whether they’re EVs or ICE.
For things like city parking/traffic control, cops should be on bicycles, possibly electric, like they are in many cities.

How many kWh were wasted keeping the cars charged up for when they might get used?

OK, raise your hand if you are one of the many electric car fans who believe government needs to carry the load of propagating our highways, byways and local neighborhoods with all sorts of chargers.

$10.2 million dollars for hundreds of 80 mile EVs that seldom get used?! …Are often misused.

It is an outrage, and the deputy chief’s response is classic.

LA taxpayers should be incensed. They should call for accountability.

Try to seat in this car when you are carrying a handgun / holster, a radio, handcuffs, a Taser gun, a baton, flashlight and a bullet proof vest 😉