A few years down the line, the Los Angeles Police Department could be carrying out its high-speed chases in electric vehicles.
As part of a broader climate initiative, the LAPD was given a $160,000 Tesla Model S P85D last week to poke and prod -- and possibly turn into one of the force's police pursuit vehicles.
"We're using [the Model S] in a fleet used by detectives and investigators and staff, and hopefully we can research and prepare for a pursuit vehicle that could be battery electric in the future," said Matt Petersen, LA's chief sustainability officer, in an interview.
The LAPD was also loaned a BMW i3. These vehicles will be used for testing by LAPD technical experts to determine how electric-vehicle technology could support operations.
The two high-end vehicles are just one part of a major EV expansion. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced the city will also lease of 160 battery electric vehicles and 128 plug-in hybrids. One hundred of the battery electric vehicles will go the police department, making it the single largest government EV procurement in the nation.
"The LAPD is proud to be among the law enforcement agencies leading the way to sustainability with the use of electric vehicles, and reducing our operating costs at the same time,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, in a statement.
These leases will deliver on Garcetti's Sustainable City pLAn commitment to ensure that 50 percent of LA's annual light-duty vehicle purchases are EVs by 2017. Under the initiative, there is a longer-term target to have 80 percent of city vehicle fleet purchases be electric by 2025.
The EV announcement helped to kick off the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit in LA this week, an event intended to build upon the historic climate partnership Presidents Obama and Xi announced last November. On Tuesday, multiple city, state and provincial leaders in the U.S. and China signed on to a new declaration to take enhanced actions to mitigate carbon emissions, increase climate resilience and strengthen bilateral cooperation. Leaders in both countries have also agreed to collaborate on the development of carbon markets.
In addition, 11 Chinese cities agreed to hit their emissions peak earlier than the national goal of 2030. These 11 cities combined produce the same amount of annual emissions as Japan or Brazil, according to the White House.
"Forty-two percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from the U.S. and China, and cities are leading the way in reducing emissions and preparing for the reality of climate change," said Peterson. "If we can make this summit a success, it will help put wind at the back of everyone going into the Paris climate negotiations."
Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit in LA on Wednesday, after announcing $120 million in solar funding at Solar Power International.