It appears that the Los Angeles Police Department likes the idea of electric vehicles, but its officers don’t actually enjoy driving them.
A local KCBS investigation revealed that millions of dollars the department spent on electric vehicles have been largely wasted, with many of the cars leased sitting idle in garages and going untouched.
The discovery is a major flop for the California city, where local leaders have spent millions in an effort to turn the government more green.
In 2016, the city’s leaders unveiled a highly touted pilot program to make the LAPD more environmentally friendly, awarding BMW a contract to provide electric vehicles for the department.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti praised the ambitious plan during its roll-out, adding, “We should be thinking green in everything we do.” Ironically, the Democrat mayor at the time said the cars would “also save money and resources,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Under the plan, BMW will provide 100 electric cars every year for three years, to be used for administrative, non-emergency purposes for the time being.
The contract will ultimately cost the city a total of $10.2 million, including charging stations.
However, the LAPD’s pivot to green energy hasn’t gone as planned.
“Now while it all may sound good to help the environment, our investigation found some cars sitting, others being used for personal errands,” said KCBS reporter David Goldstein.
The report discovered, through department records, that many of the electric cars are sitting around going unused, having only driven a few hundred miles despite the LAPD leasing them over a year ago.
Investigators did find one LAPD commander using her BMW electric vehicle — driving to a nail salon to get a manicure. The officer did not appear enthused to talk to the media.
What appears to be a monumental waste of resources doesn’t seem to faze some in the department. Confronted with the details, one spokesman still contended that the deal with BMW was worth it.
“It’s all a part of saving the Earth, going green and quite frankly, to try and save money for the community and the taxpayers,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas.
The underlying problem with the electric vehicles? They can only go 80 to 100 mph on a charge — an obvious problem for law enforcement.
Miles logged with the LAPD reveal what critics of the electric vehicle plan have argued, that officers have no desire to drive cars that can’t reach speeds that are sometimes necessary to do their job.
Jack Humphreville, a Los Angeles government watchdog for CityWatch, argued the plan was simply for show.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Humphreville said.
“If they’re going to be using $10 million of our money, or basically leasing $10 million of equipment, they ought to have a d— plan,” he added. “Isn’t that just a tremendous waste of money?”
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