Carbon Motors Corporation
Carbon Motors Corporation was an American automotive corporation that developed a purpose-built police car. Founded in Los Angeles, California, by Stacy Dean Stephens and William Santana Li (a former police officer and former Ford executive, respectively) in 2003, the company moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2006, where it continued to develop its product and gain investors. In July 2009, the company relocated their headquarters to Connersville, Indiana, with plans to invest $350 million into converting a former Visteon plant there.
On March 7, 2012, media reported that the U.S. government's Department of Energy (DOE) had denied a loan request of $310 million applied for under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program with Energy Secretary Steven Chu stating that while the DOE would have liked to approve the loan, there was "a responsibility to the taxpayers and they need to make sure it’s written in the statute that there's a reasonable chance of repayment." Carbon Motors officials had worked with the DOE over the prior two years to address concerns about Carbon Motors' plans. Carbon Motors criticized the DOE's reasons for refusing the loan as politically motivated and related to the 2012 elections. Another Indiana startup, Bright Automotive, was forced to end operations the week before after applying for the same loan in 2008 and being unable to continue waiting for the DOE to act on the application. On March 13, 2012, Secretary Chu testified before a Senate hearing partly related to claims made by Carbon Motors CEO William Santana Li regarding the politicization of loans granted by the DOE stating "Politics is not a factor, period. It has to do with the finances of the company, the viability of the loan."
In early March 2013, Carbon Motors began to remove equipment and vacate the plant in Connersville. The lease on the plant was allowed to expire on March 31, 2013. The company's website and YouTube channel were taken down around the same time. By April 2013, the company effectively shut down.
On May 22, 2013, three former Carbon Motors executives filed a lawsuit against the company for unpaid, deferred wages.
Carbon Motors was formed to develop and produce the E7, the first purpose-built police car ever made. The E7 was to be only available for law enforcement agencies to purchase. The prototype was first revealed in 2008 on the "Pure Justice" tour. The E7 had an expected release date of 2012. It was designed in part by American law enforcement officers for the sole purpose of producing a vehicle to be most effective to police. The company stated that, in order to keep the vehicle out of private ownership, when an agency wishes to dispose of an E7, it would either be sold to another law enforcement agency or returned to the factory to be parted out. The price was intended to be "competitive" considering the cost of equipping a conventional car for police work and how long each vehicle lasts. The Carbon E7 was to be built to last 250,000 miles, compared with 75,000 to 120,000 miles for the typical patrol car.
The vehicle was to be equipped with a BMW straight-six turbo-diesel engine, which is more fuel efficient than current gasoline engine police car engines. It was designed to be rear wheel drive, have a six-speed automatic transmission, be governed to a top speed of 155 mph, and accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds. It also featured numerous safety features, including 75 mph rear-impact crash capability, and optional ballistic protection panels. The vehicle also had law enforcement equipment designed into the vehicle intended to be installed during production so agencies wouldn't need to purchase equipment from other companies and then install them on the vehicle. The front seats of the E7 were designed for comfort while wearing a duty belt.
According to Carbon Motors Corporation, the E7 was to have numerous features and options available, including:
- NIJ Level III-A (or better) ballistic protection (front doors and dash panel)
- Purpose-designed seat for use with on-body equipment and seat heating and ventilation
- Head-up display
- Reverse backup camera
- Remote start capability
- Engine features to enable extended idling as well as operating in extreme conditions (heat and cold)
- Driver-specific intelligent key
- 360 degree exterior surveillance capability, with fully automatic recording
- Automatic license plate recognition system, programmable and upgradeable
- Video and audio surveillance of rear passenger compartment
- Nightvision compliant interior illumination
- Integrated forward looking infrared system (FLIR)
- Integrated shotgun and rifle mounts
- Secure weapons storage
- Optimized storage capability (compartment and cargo), to store police gear ranging from spare restraints to forensic equipment
- Integrated front and rear passenger compartment partition
- Isolated ventilation for front and rear compartments
- Rear seats designed to accommodate handcuffed suspects/prisoners
- Security features to prevent escape of prisoners
- Rear passenger compartment designed to be washed by hosing down
- Integrated push bumpers and PIT capability
- Integrated aerodynamic emergency lights with sirens
In popular culture
The Carbon E7 is featured in the 2010 video game Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit as one of the vehicles available for use when playing as a police officer. While all other playable vehicles (such as the Ford Crown Victoria, Chevrolet Caprice, Dodge Charger, and other well-known vehicles) have performance statistics such as top speed listed, most of the E7's statistics are listed as "CLASSIFIED". E7 was also available in Car Town as a limited buyable car. The E7 has been also used by Hasbro as a basis for creating the Decepticon Crowbar (approximately 1:64) For Cyberse Transformers toy line based on the 2011 movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
- Who Needs the Big 3? Atlanta Company Plans New Police Car Archived 2009-08-22 at the Wayback Machine, Fox News, December 11, 2008
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2009-10-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-10-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- John Russell; Tom Spalding (July 29, 2009). "Connersville successfully woos police car maker". Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on 1 August 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- "Carbon Motors E7: Proudly Made in Indiana". Carbon Motors. July 29, 2009. Archived from the original on 8 August 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2010-09-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Department of Energy says 'no' to Carbon Motors' loan request for police car". Fox News. March 7, 2012. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- "Carbon Motors pulls equipment from Indiana plant". Indianapolis Business Journal. March 31, 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Is Carbon Motors Dead?". Jalopnik. April 2, 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Tannert, Chuck (April 4, 2013). "Carbon Motors Creator of the E7 Diesel is Out Of Business". Road & Track. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
- . Connersville News-Examiner https://archive.is/20130615045051/http://www.nwitimes.com/news/state-and-regional/indiana/former-executives-sue-carbon-motors-over-pay/article_ffaee9c5-180a-52e0-9329-24833c5a00e4.html. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013. Missing or empty
- FAQ Archived December 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2009-06-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Specifications Archived December 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- “The Machine” to Clean Up Crime in 2012
- Specifications-Selected Features and Options Archived December 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine