Carbon Motors has an uncertain future as it exits Indiana factory

Article by Christian A., on April 4, 2013

It is assumed that Carbon Motors is dead after it chose not to renew its lease on its plant in Connersville, Indiana. This means that we should no longer expect the futuristic Carbon Motors E7. A few years ago, Carbon Motors revealed a plan to build custom cop cars (rather than retrofitted, updated sedans) that will be equipped with BMW diesel engines.

However, there wasn’t much progress after that. Carbon Motors had been hoping to get a $310 million loan from the Department of Energy. But the loan was denied in March 2012. Carbon Motors had meant to use this money to hire 1550 workers for a former Visteon plant in Connersville, Indiana and to create as many as 10,000 additional jobs across the supplier industry.

Last March, Carbon Motors’ money had dried up and its workers had taken out production equipment from the plant. In early March, Alan Bratt (the plant’s development officer) had resigned, saying that there has been no announcement on what’s expected to happen. At the plant site, the Carbon Motors sign has been painted over and someone has removed the “Carbon Motors Drive” street sign.

This development has saddened those who were eager to see the futuristic E7 car come to life. The plan had been to power it with a 300-hp version of BMW’s 3.0-liter turbo-diesel I-6, and to let it feature an aluminum spaceframe with rear suicide doors (to make prisoner ingress/egress easy). This diesel engine would be able to deliver 300 hp of max output and 420 lb.-ft of peak torque. This would send the E7 sprinting from nil to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 155 mph.

Rather than retrofitting items such as a light bar and front push bumper, Carbon Motors incorporated the features into the car’s structure. Its seats are some of the E7’s most striking features. The portion of the seat where the lower bolster connects to the backrest has been taken out to give space for a police officer’s handcuffs, gun, ammo, and Taser.

Carbon Motors’ $310-million loan application to the U.S. Department of Energy -- part of the federal agency’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program – was aimed at producing the E7 purpose-built and fuel-efficient police vehicle.

The approval of the loan would have allowed Carbon Motors to set up a facility was to be put up in Connersville, Indiana, thereby bringing around 1,500 jobs to a city that is already facing some economic issues. The E7 it would have been the first police car to have been designed from scratch, as typical police vehicles are usually converted civilian models.

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