The LAPD’s fleet of barely used BMW i3s is being sold for cheap

  • Cars from the LAPD’s fleet of barely used BMW i3s are being sold at New Century BMW in Alhambra, California. 
  • The cars all have pretty low miles and are all priced between $15,000 and $18,000, a dealership rep told Business Insider.
  • The dealership sold its first shipment of 28 cars in just four days, but a new shipment is coming this month.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In 2016, BMW won the bid to supply the Los Angeles Police Department with hundreds of all-electric BMW i3s for use in its transportation fleet. The LAPD hardly used them, their leases expired, and now the cars are being sold for dirt cheap.

Several i3s from the LAPD’s fleet were for sale at New Century BMW as Certified Pre-Owned models, as first noticed by The Current Review, an enthusiast EV blog, and then Jalopnik. A screenshot of New Century BMW’s inventory, grabbed by Green Car Reports, showed a collection of white-on-black i3s available. All of them were 2017 models, only had a few thousand miles on them, and were priced at less than $18,000. 

A representative at New Century BMW confirmed to Business Insider that the cars were indeed from the LAPD’s fleet, and that the dealership was selling them as CPO models. Some prices were as low as $15,000, which is a steal for a three-year-old, low-mileage CPO BMW that had a starting price of more than $43,000. Some had only about 9,000 miles on them.

A cursory glance through Autotrader shows 2017 BMW i3s with more miles on them going for a few thousand dollars more. 

At the time of Friday’s writing, there are no more LAPD i3s left for sale. The dealership rep told Business Insider that the store’s first shipment of i3s contained 28 cars and all of them sold in four days. 

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However, a second shipment will come at some point this month, and the rep said all of the cars would be priced between $15,000 and $18,000. 

The rep estimates that these will sell just as quickly. He said there was a lot of interest, but also noted that due to the high demand, the dealer will not be accepting phone or online orders. Interested customers must show up in person at the dealership and the cars will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

The i3s were part of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s push to go greener. Despite the good intentions, things didn’t go according to plan.

The cars didn’t wind up doing much of the outreach they were intended for, a CBS Los Angeles investigation from January 2018 found. Instead, they sat, rarely used. If they were used, CBS Los Angeles said they were used for non-police business, such as visiting nail salons and picking folks up for lunch. 

CBS Los Angeles later clarified that, according to numbers it obtained from the LAPD, the entire cost of the i3 and charging-station operation cost $10.2 million, with plans for 300 cars in the fleet.

In an emailed response to Business Insider, an LAPD spokesperson said the department is not selling the i3s. Rather, they said the cars’ leases had expired and that’s why they’re being resold by the leasing company.

“The 50 vehicles were turned in by us at the end of the leasing period per the contract,” the spokesperson said.

So if you’re in the Southern California region and you’re looking for a cheap EV, keep your eyes on New Century BMW’s inventory list. Once that new shipment comes in, it’ll probably go fast. 

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