• May 6, 2013
If you recognize the infamous headlight pattern of a Ford Crown Victoria in your rearview mirror, it could be anyone from a taxi, to your grandparents, to a policeman preparing to pull you over. That's because police cruisers have long been based on Ford's ubiquitous full-sized sedan, heavily modified to meet the needs of law enforcement. With Ford finally retiring the trusted "Crown Vic" in 2011, an opportunity opened in the market for a truly purpose-built police car. Carbon Motors E7 Police Cruiser: TRANSLOGIC 128
If you recognize the infamous headlight pattern of a Ford Crown Victoria in your rearview mirror, it could be anyone from a taxi, to your grandparents, to a policeman preparing to pull you over. That's because police cruisers have long been based on Ford's ubiquitous full-sized sedan, heavily modified to meet the needs of law enforcement. With Ford finally retiring the trusted "Crown Vic" in 2011, an opportunity opened in the market for a truly purpose-built police car.

Carbon Motors Corporation was founded in 2003 on the dream of producing the perfect police car. The idea gained a lot of attention from investors and media alike, and Carbon Motors took the step of requesting a $310 million loan under the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. But, after years of working with the DOE on terms, the loan was denied on March 7, 2012. Carbon Motors CEO William Santana Li blamed a "highly-charged, election year environment," for what he termed a "political decision."

Well before this, Carbon Motors' founders Stacy Dean Stephens and William Santana, a former police officer and former Ford exec, spent years dreaming up what the future would demand of police officers and their cars. They surveyed hundreds of law enforcement officials and even launched a council with over 1,200 enthusiastic police officers. The result of this research was the Carbon Motors E7, the first purpose-built police car. So what made it so special?

First, Carbon Motors claims that the E7 is different from traditional police cars in that its lifecycle is much longer. Compared to today's police cars that last up to 120,000 miles, the diesel-powered E7 was built to last 250,000 miles, thanks in part to a dependable 6-cylinder diesel motor that Carbon Motors sourced from BMW. Like the Crown Victoria, the E7 is rear wheel drive with power sent through an automatic transmission.

The E7's performance specs were never fully tested, but the company claims the car can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour time in about 6 and a half seconds, with a governed top speed of 155 miles per hour. The diesel motor is reported to put out 265 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque.

CARBON MOTORS

The convenience features and onboard equipment are where the E7 stands out most. Heated and cooled seats designed to accomodate a police officer's bulky utility belt begin the list of comfort features. In addition, there is a heads-up display, back up camera and remote start capability. The rear passenger compartment is more accesible due to a unique "coach door" design, and was made to be sprayed down with a hose incase anything messy happens back there.

Add automatic license plant recognition, 360-degree surveillance cameras, nightvision, rear passenger cameras, and a front FLIR infrared night camera system, and you have one high-tech police cruiser. In terms of safety, the E7 has everything from 75 mph rear-impact bumpers to optional bullet resistent panels.

ORCA, or On-board Rapid Command Architecture, is a vehicle information system integrated direct into the dashboard--similar to the touchscreen infotainment system found on the Tesla Model S. This unit controls all the bells and whistles. By plugging into the OBDII port, ORCA can show if there are any problems with the car so they can easily be diagnosed and fixed.

CARBON MOTORS

Back in December, Carbon Motors announced they had received almost 25,000 reservations from 638 law enforcement agencies. In addition, their announcement of the TX7 police van showed they had more product flowing in the pipeline.

Unfortunately for Carbon Motors, it looks like the E7 and other purpose-built police vehicle concepts will never happen--at least, not in their current form. Without the DOE loan, Carbon Motors was without the $300 million needed to remodel a vacant Visteon plant in Connersville, Indiana and begin selling cars. As we've seen with other high-tech automotive startups, it's not an easy business to get off the ground.

Shortly after we taped our episode with Carbon Motors, founder Stacy Dean confirmed to TRANSLOGIC that the company had shut down operations.

Nonetheless, all of the attention the E7 received helps to perpetuate the idea that police cars need to be designed, engineered, and manufactured from the ground up, to meet the specific needs of the officers who rely on them. Perhaps someday we'll see such a vehicle. But for now, it looks like police cars based on widely available, full-sized sedans will carry on.

TRANSLOGIC 55: LAPD Chevy Caprice PPV


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  • 74 Comments
      Ken
      • 4 Days Ago
      Must be a reason why no private investors would pony up. Too bad it doesn't say what it would sell for. By the way, don't know where this reporter got the 120,000 mile life span of the current police cars. Our sheriffs dept. auctions theirs off at around 150,000 miles and some are bought by cab companies, repainted and go another 150,000. They are, though., maintained to the max while in service by the department.
      vegetto764
      • 4 Days Ago
      Of course he did not get the loan from the current government because such venture made sense. Only money losing projects are eligible for assistance or grants. He should have said it will run on electric or wind power and the check would have been in the mail.
      frank1946
      • 4 Days Ago
      Cops on Bikes now the Future. Cities are Bankrupt with Pension Payments. Sell them to China !
        raal246
        • 4 Days Ago
        @frank1946
        Frank: No can sell to China..., GM just announced building a $1.3 BILLION facility for Cadillacs in China! Talking about sending jobs overeas.., Chinese can have Caddies for cop cars!
        Bill
        • 4 Days Ago
        @frank1946
        Yes, don't want to give them what they already paid for and have been promised.
      • 4 Days Ago
      I believe all State Police Officers should have this vehicle available to them, esp. with the 75mpg rear bumper and what goes with it.
      KEN STALEY
      • 4 Days Ago
      Hey at least we got some windmills not spinning
      vernon813
      • 4 Days Ago
      This is a great RMP for patrol!
      Denny
      • 4 Days Ago
      No, whats sad is Carbon Motors took almost 1 million dollars of taxpayers money from the citizens of Connersville, IN. All the money just vanished, thats why they didn't get any more money from the Feds.
      Nick
      • 4 Days Ago
      I'd like to thank all the out of touch eliteists who could care less about the real populations needs or well being . They discuise them selves with the descriptives of Law maker , Leader's , Americas Elected. They are actually supposed to be our elected servers representing the majoritys will They are all narccistic and way over paid with self motives thinley discuised as a public servant. Bind them as they bind us live by the same rules as us ,convert their medical to medicade and they will fix it , put their retirement in SSI , betcha they'd fix that crap pretty quick without a lot of arguing.. You ! the Ones that dont hear us Understand its not entitlements or benifits, its My SSI .. I have pd into it for 33 years against my will ... thats my money , not a fund for other things .. Thanks Brian , I needed to say that. We may be screwed but we dont have to be quiet yet. every other admendment is under attack .. and the bad news. The Bad guys are better armed , have better un monitered communication with free gov phones that are untraceable and have made society unsafe because they all have multi round clips .., best defense for a bad guy with a gun is a faster more accurate good guy with a gun..
      • 4 Days Ago
      alantatanka: how about next time I call 911, they better show up (and fast) or I will make sure they are fired and sued to the point they can no longer provide for their family... BECAUSE I PAY THEIR SALARY! They aren't doing us a favor for showing up so that BS argument doesn't work.
      dumbneasy
      • 4 Days Ago
      Looks like a great vehicle! Now I'm just thinking of all that money that went to FOO (Friends of Obama) as in the Solyndra debackle. Here's something that can really save lives and help society that gets no help, while a con job gets $475 million of new taxpayer debt. So sad....and angering....
      Brian Workman
      • 4 Days Ago
      I'm a retired Law Enforcement Officer, that wants to "Thank You Obama" for pulling the plug on the Best Engineering Eqyuipment Made For Law Enforcement to come about in decades! THANKS!!!
        Wade
        • 4 Days Ago
        @Brian Workman
        Well you know the big 3 call the shots when it comes to government vehicles. Of coures hope and change along with transparency was supposed to sweeping the nation, so technically we are not talking are we? At least not about this. I do not really love what the police do. The war on drugs is a joke, speed traps are criminal, prostitution stings are silly, but catching those that rob and kill is noble. We have to have the police and I think they should be allowed to have good tools. This car was an awesome idea, but you and I both know what it got shutdown.
      hchevy
      • 4 Days Ago
      Sounds like a windfall for bmw.
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