LAPD’s BMW i3s Are Either Being Misused or Not Used at All

LAPD’s BMW i3s sit with low miles or are being used for personal trips, one report says.

UPDATED Jan 25, 2018 11:23 AM

California is known to have some of the more strict emission standards in the United States. That maybe why in early 2016 the Los Angeles Police Department made a big deal to go green by leasing hundreds of electric BMW i3s to add to its fleet. The cars were intended to be used in non-emergencies, but according to a news report most are not used at all and when used for non business use.

David Goldstein of Los Angeles local CBS affiliate CBS 2 dug deep to find what is happening with the BMW i3s. The LAPD has the intent to lease 100 BMW i3s for three years for administration purposes and non-emergencies. The cost to taxpayers was $10.2 million, which includes the charging stations for the fully electric BMW i3s. 

Goldstein's investigation found that many of the i3s only have a few hundred miles on them, with the higher mileage cars having only a few thousand. He broke down the tax cost of one of the older BMW i3s which had a mere 400 miles on it, even though it's been in the LAPD's service since May 2016. That is an average use of six miles per week. Goldstein reports that the monthly lease on the car is $418.04, which means it costs taxpayers $15.67 per mile.

Not only are the cars rarely used, but when they are used, they're used for purposes that they weren't intended for, Goldstein found. Goldstein and his news crew waited for multiple BMW i3s to leave the police garage to see where they went. One immediately left the garage to get Japanese food from a drive through, another driver went from downtown Los Angeles to Loyola Marymount University to have lunch with a student, and perhaps the worst misuse Goldstein found was the LAPD's Commanding Officer for Fiscal Operations went to an elementary school for an hour then visited a nail salon. 

Goldstein presented his findings to the LAPD's Assistant Police Chief who stated that what she was doing did not appear to be for business use. 

The LAPD still considers the program with the BMW i3s to be a success.