Say it isn't so, five-oh: Carbon Motors is reportedly finished after the company decided not to renew its lease on its Connersville, Indiana plant. The futuristic Carbon Motors E7 is presumed dead.
It's been years since we first heard about Carbon's ambitious plan to make custom cop cars (instead of retrofitted, upgraded sedans) powered by BMW diesel engines, and very little happened in those years. In March 2012, the Department of Energy denied Carbon a $310 million loan that, Carbon said, would create 1550 jobs at a former Visteon plant in Connersville, Indiana and up to 10,000 more jobs throughout the supplier industry.
As of last month, what money was remaining had dried up, and Carbon Motors employees had removed production equipment from the plant. The plant's development officer, Alan Bratt, had resigned by early March, telling Connersville Mayor Leonard Urban that "no one has said anything about where they are going or what's going to happen." Visit the plant site today and the Carbon Motors sign has already been painted over and the "Carbon Motors Drive" street sign removed.
That's a bit of a disappointment. Although it was always going to be a difficult sell, the futuristic E7 car was an interesting addition to the police car market. It was supposed to be powered by a 300-hp version of BMW's 3.0-liter turbo-diesel I-6, and feature an aluminum spaceframe with rear suicide doors (to ease prisoner ingress/egress). Instead of retrofitting things like a light bar and front push bumper, Carbon Motors integrated the features into the construction of the car. One of the E7's most interesting features was its seats: Carbon scooped out the section of the seat where the lower bolster meets the backrest to allow space for an officer's handcuffs, gun, ammo, and Taser.
With the E7 more 187 than Hawaii 5-0, law enforcement agencies will have to look elsewhere for their law enforcement car needs. And they already are: Ford sold just over 2000 Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility vehicles last month.
Source: Indianapolis Business Journal