The Victorian Government just announced the latest addition to their Victoria Police Highway Patrol fleet, a 2021 BMW M3 Competition. The M3 Competition will be on the Highway Patrol fleet for a temporary period as part of the Police Highway Patrol’s vehicle evaluation and assessment process.
Let’s be real here, this isn’t a test drive, Victoria Police clearly have intentions to buy 1 or more of these and BMW M vehicles have previously been a feature of Victoria Police, with the BMW M5 Competition joining the force for an evaluation period in 2019.
Obviously, in the game of highway pursuits, performance is important, so at that level, I understand the want for a performant vehicle. The question is, what’s the best way to get that performance in 2021? The answer, electric.
The BMW’s M3 Competition is the flagship in their range, featuring a six-cylinder powerplant with BMW M TwinPower Turbo technology that develops 375kW and 650Nm.
That performance sounds decent, and is impressive by ICE standards, speeding from 0-100km/hr in 3.9-seconds but comes at a cost of $154,900.
That is an eye-watering price tag, particularly in light of a perfectly viable alternative, the Tesla Model 3, which speeds from, 0-100km/hr in just 3.3 seconds and costs just $93,416.
BMW are pretty proud of their straight-six engine that puts its power down through the rear wheels (yep not AWD) via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic for ultra-fast, precise shifts (don’t have that problem in an EV).
For those BMW fans out there, you’ll probably be quick to compare to the better 2022 M3 Competition Automatic option that drops acceleration time to the same 3.3s of the M3P, the price spirals out of control to A$266,129 in which you could have 2.8 Tesla’s for that price.
There are a number of specs that are likely to be raised in this debate between the two vehicles, namely top speed and range.
The BMW M5 Competition features a top speed of 290km/h, with the M3P caps out at 261km/h. Given pursuits would be called off long before either vehicle approached these speeds, so that difference doesn’t feel particularly important.
When it comes to range, the BMW offers a tank size of 59L. With an efficiency rating of 10.2L/100km, that gives you a maximum possible range of 601.8km. The Tesla Model 3 Performance is rated for a range of 567km, more than enough to get the job done.
My point here is not that the M3 is a bad car, it’s great, but times are changing in the performance end of vehicles and that’s where electric vehicles shine. It’s also worth remembering that the Victoria Government (which we can extend to Victorian Government agencies like VicPol) has ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by the end of 2030.
To achieve that ambitious target, they need to consider EVs in their fleet purchasing and should be asking why this scope can’t be filled by an EV, rather than the other way around.