Sheriff's Department to Test Electric Minis' Might

Drivers in Los Angeles County may blink a few times starting next week.

Don't be surprised to see sheriff's department markings on electric-powered Mini Cooper automobiles.

Sheriff Lee Baca announced Sunday that 17 electric Minis will be leased to the department by its builder, a subsidiary of BMW, for $10 per month per car in exchange for deputies' feedback on the 100-percent electric, zero-emission cars.

Charging stations for the sedans will be installed at sheriff's facilities by Mini USA, which will also handle all vehicle maintenance and repairs.

Specialized units of the Sheriff's Department, including volunteer programs and the recruitment unit, will use the vehicles.

"The Minis will support the department's commitment to a green environment and will provide valuable insight for environmentally-friendly alternatives for the future," read a statement issued by the department.

The electric version of the Mini is currently only available to 500 U.S. drivers as part of a one-year field trial that requires motorists to meet a list of conditions set by BMW, and to pay the market lease rate of $850 per month.

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