As it stands today, the vast majority of police cars are powered by large gasoline-fed V8 engines up front, which drives the rear wheels through an automatic transmission. The steel body sits atop a heavy steel frame to which a decidedly old-tech set of suspension bits, including a live rear axle, are affixed. Very old-school, so to speak. There are some, though, looking to change all of this. Carbon Motors plans to unveil a prototype police vehicle that's made specifically for the job, as opposed to a converted Ford Crown Vic or something like it.
An aluminum space-frame would provide the basic structure for the Carbon Motors car, while composite body panels make up the exterior skin. The company "will be pushing the clean-diesel agenda very hard, with its 40 percent fuel economy improvement," according to William Santana Li, CEO of Carbon Motors Corp. For its performance driving abilities, rear-wheel drive would be kept. The company hopes to sell between 10,000 and 80,000 units annually.
[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]