Carbon Motors

Carbon Motors – In The Past And The Future

Carbon Motors – In The Past And The Future


Carbon Motors Corporation was a private automotive corporation founded in Los Angeles, California that designed and developed purpose-built police cars. It was established by Stacy Dean Stephens, and William Santana Li who is a former executive of Ford Motor Company. It was a security company that was established to design, develop, manufacture, distribute, service, and recycle the E7, its first purpose-built police car.




Carbon Motors’ E7 (aka The Machine) is not just the conventional police car seen running on streets and chasing criminals. It is a police car designed primarily to perform police functions. It provides interagency solutions and will have a material and positive effect on every town, city, county, state, school campus, and every place where the public can be.


To realize its design objectives, it is equipped with features such as infrared cameras, extensive speed detection hardware, 360-degree surveillance cameras as well as cutting-edge technology in license plate recognition and On-board Rapid Command Architecture (ORCA). It is built on a purpose-built chassis and is designed to a 250,000 mile durability specification and a top speed of 155 mph.


It is no big gas guzzler, yet its performance remains topnotch, making it a fast, economical, and longer lasting police car than the conventional ones. Its seats are made to give ergonomic support to cops and accommodate utility belts full of police equipment such as handcuffs, bullets, and handguns, and it even has a weapons detector attached to it.




Considering that there are more or less 450,000 conventional police vehicles in the United States, Carbon Motors aims to eliminate the possible problems that the police force may experience solely because of their vehicles. Usually, contracts for the purchase of new police vehicles start out as retail passenger cars that were ever intended for police use. After purchase of these conventional cars, law enforcement agencies spend money to customize these once passenger cars into their own police cars. The following are the problems usually met by officers on these vehicles:


  1. Some police vehicles lack the utility and safety equipment not only to assist wounded officers, but also to secure captured offenders to prevent them from causing any more harm.
  2. These vehicles are never subjected to crash tests, and the safety of the officers can never be assured.


Carbon Motors has envisioned these situations that police officers encounter whenever they are in a mission. Thus, it aims to reduce, and eliminate these problems not only to ensure peace in the community, but also to keep the law enforcing officers safe from any harm or danger.




Confident with the E7’s capability, Carbon Motors Chairman William Santana Li said that the company has contracted several manufacturers to supply the parts of the police car. He believes since 2001 that an effective homeland security strategy demands new solutions to old problems, and that a company like Carbon Motors is ready to take up the challenge. In fact, he said that at a vehicle demonstration, law enforcement officials and fleet managers were impressed with its features and expressed great interest in its production. Positive with the possible improvements that the E7 can bring, Carbon Motors had been exerting efforts and sales pitches since then, to promote and hopefully, to produce the cop car of the future.


Pricing was not of any priority that time, because Carbon Motors focused more on how to introduce this revolutionary police car to government agencies. Despite that, it allowed pre-ordering by these agencies to help the company determine the types and sizes that it has to produce. Stacy Dean Stephens even said that at its first introduction, agencies in all states contacted them, asking how much the vehicle would cost, how long it will take them to produce, and when the company will get service.




Carbon Motors, pursuant to their goal of offering their purpose-built police cars, exerted all its efforts to introduce it to many law enforcement agencies. Considering that the purpose is imbued with public interest, Carbon Motors ultimately has to get the heart and the consent of the government through the Department of Energy. It applied for a $310 million federal loan that it can use to realize these expectations.


While everyone is impressed with the E7, the United States government thinks otherwise.


After a series of approvals made during 2009, the government through the Department of Energy had finally rejected the loan application after 30 months of negotiation. Officials of the company said that the decision was influenced by politics. However, when asked to explain, government officials said that Carbon Motors’ business plan simply “was not strong enough.”




Because of unsatisfied contracts with manufacturers of parts, Carbon Motors suffered from negative cash flow. Despite receiving about $200 million in private and public financing, the company cannot show their clients anything, and the amount is not sufficient to pay wages considering that marketing efforts were at its peak. The rejection of the $310 million loan by the government led the company to cease operations and, eventually, leave their facilities.


Carbon Motors eventually filed for bankruptcy, officially listing its liabilities at $21.7 million, comprising of claims from investors who had placed millions of dollars into the company. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that among these claims was the $3.6 million from Chicago billionaire Joe Mansueto, the founder and CEO of investment research from Morningstar Inc. Its assets, surprisingly is at $18,976, which comprises the sole prototype of the would-be police car of the future, some furniture, corporate books, and its intellectual property.




Carbon Motors never made any public announcement as to their liquidation, but it was made known that despite the rejection of the loan, it still tried to do sales pitches, hoping to improve their financial condition. The public has mixed views about it. Most of them showed impression, while only a few showed dissatisfaction.


Carbon Motors’ E7 could have been the perfect partner for law enforcement officers in maintaining peace and pursuing justice. While the company is officially liquidated, its ideas will surely be introduced once again, in the guise of another company.

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Carbon Motors: A Rundown of Its History, Concepts and Legacy

Carbon Motors: A Rundown of Its History, Concepts and Legacy

Despite being one of the short-lived auto brands, Carbon Motors left its mark in the auto industry in its 10-year existence in the market. The auto brand has left quite an impression a unique brand because of its design philosophies and target market.

The Foundation

The American automotive brand was founded by Former executive for Ford Motors, William Santana Li, and former police officer Stacy Dean Stephens. Established in 2003, the company established its first headquarters in Los Angeles California. Three years after the establishment, Carbon Motors relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and continued manufacturing its concept cars in the market. In the following three years, Carbon Motors decided to settle in Connersville, Indiana for its production with the plan of converting a plant for their own use.

Vehicle for Community Protection

While the trend for manufacturing cars focused on common motorists, Carbon Motors decided to take a different turn in producing their vehicle line by producing cars meant for law enforcement. Considering Stephens’ background as an official and Santana Li’s background in the auto industry, the founders became a great combination that are expected to bring cars that meet the needs of law enforcement.

For many years, the police force has been utilizing different car brands for its police vehicles. The unusual thing is that they tended to simply use the same cars given to civilians and other than putting on decals and lights as well as remove the hubcaps for some reason it was not a purpose built vehicle.  Their features are customizable in terms of finishing and installing add-ons needed by policemen. Nevertheless, none of these cars was actually made or custom tailored exclusively for law enforcement operations until the young car brand entered the feature.

Carbon Motors E7: Meant for Law Enforcement

Carbon Motors developed the E7 concept, the vehicle built with features meant for law enforcement agencies. Due to their features, Carbon Motors made this vehicle exclusively available for these agencies.

The concept was developed earlier and wasn’t released to the public until 2008. The company held a tour named “Pure Justice” to reveal the known prototype to the world.

The goal of producing these vehicles was to make a car meant for authorities and the way they use their vehicles. Concept notes from Carbon Motors stated that its interoperability features give way to enhanced communication between law enforcers in the field and their main centers. As a purpose-built law vehicle, E7 will serve as a security platform that ensures officer safety and others that make responding to emergencies faster than driving a regular vehicle.

The auto company designed the vehicle with superb features that extend from the chassis up to the interiors. Technological advancements used to improve communication, speed, security, and dynamics. E7’s exterior appearance alone shows off a bumper-to-bumper rugged chassis. With main car’s body covered in black finish, its unique gray bumper trims gave it a one-of-a-kind appearance than conventional vehicles. Law enforcement authorities ordering this vehicle can customize it with decals that indicate the agencies using the vehicles.

The vehicle’s exterior appearance alone is unique, but Carbon Motors designed its interiors with features that police officials need. The cockpit area is fitted with numerous technologies used for law enforcement like radios and controllers for sirens, lights and other equipment. The reverse backup camera aids in maneuvering the vehicle while making it an additional surveillance system while on the authorities are out of their vehicles. Its special video and audio surveillance system is also installed behind the passenger compartment, which makes monitoring easier.

Aside from technological add-ons, E7 also has integrated shotgun mounts, passenger compartment partition, and interior illuminator that works with night vision. These features alone are enough indicators that the brand thought out of the vehicle well and making them suitable for law enforcers to help them carry out their jobs accordingly.

Prototype TX7

After promoting E7, Carbon Motors started to conceptualize a new vehicle brand made even bigger than the first cruiser it launched in the market. Known as TX7, this vehicle resembles an armored truck, but with Carbon Motor’s touch.

TX7 is designed for bringing a small group of police officers that won’t fit in E7. Showcasing the vehicle in white color, reports had it that the car is powered with a v8 diesel engine and meant for storing features that the SWAT would need for their operations. Just like its predecessor, TX7 photos that revolved online showed the vehicle in white finished, the signature red and blue lights, and police sign decals.

The beginning of the end

The company’s demise was probably caused by absence of funding after the Department of Energy, the U.S. government entity, denied the company of its requested loan. The approximately $300 million loan was filed in 2012, but ultimately denied despite the company being able to work with the said authority for two years. After much exchange of views on the reasons behind loan denial, Carbon Motors decided to vacate their plant in 2013, taking all their investments like websites and social media account. The company ultimately announced bankruptcy after a month.

Carbon Motors Despite the Challenges

Even in its short-term market activity, the company undoubtedly made its mark in the industry. One of its major contracts is working with BMW in 2010 after signing a contract for six-cylinder diesel engines. Additionally, its E7 appeared in the video game Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit as a playable vehicle if the player chose to play police officer as the character. Car Town also had E7 as a purchasable car for playing.

These contracts meant that the company has been recognized and a lot of individuals actually looked forward for its prototypes to appear in the market. The company could have been one of the most committed brand to its products because of its proposed policy once their vehicles are purposed. If the buyer decides to dispose the vehicle, he should sell it to another law-enforcing agency or return to the plant where Carbon Motors’ technicians will disassemble the parts. This is to protect their integrated technologies and ensure that only authorities have access to its layout.

Carbon Motors indeed made the auto market more interesting because of its design concepts. Police officers would have been enjoying their own special vehicles that will enable them to do their jobs while keeping themselves protected.

Posted in E7, TX7 Tagged with: , , , ,

Enter the E7 AKA “THE MACHINE”


A Drive For Pure Justice

Homeland Security

Gone are the days of your Chevrolet, Ford, or Dodge cars
only identified by not having hubcaps.
More than 8 years after 9/11 our country’s 840,000 law
enforcement first-responders continue to utilize inconsistently
outfitted retail passenger vehicles meant for consumer use
which do not provide the safety and performance capabilities
appropriate to protect our homeland against threats, both
foreign and domestic; 3,500 law enforcement professionals
across all 50 states, at the local, state, and federal levels, helped
design the Carbon E7 to address their specific needs in the field.

Protect and Serve

The Carbon E7 provides interagency solutions, and will have a material and positive effect on every town, city, county, state, airport, college campus, port, street, high value target, and highway across the country.

Threat Detection

In order to protect against both foreign and domestic threats, Carbon’s E7 will utilize weapons-of-mass-destruction sensors, automatic license plate recognition, infrared cameras and its proprietary On-board Rapid Command Architecture (ORCA™).


The Department of Defense spends billions of dollars funding specialty vehicles for the military. Fire departments, emergency medical services and mail carriers all operate task-specific vehicles. Carbon’s E7 is the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle.


The key to responding to, and taking control of any disaster is effective communications. Carbon’s E7 acts as a new homeland security platform upon which modern communications systems may be deployed to act as a node for more effective and reliable interoperability.


The 75,000 new vehicles purchased by law enforcement agencies annually start out as retail passenger cars never intended for the demands of police work, and are haphazardly retrofitted with a plethora of equipment installed on an aftermarket basis. These modified vehicles are never subjected to crash tests necessary to determine compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) – a level of safety our families enjoy but is not provided to our women and men in uniform. The Carbon E7 will not only meet or exceed all FMVSS requirements with all law enforcement equipment efficiently integrated into the vehicle from the factory; it is also designed to meet a 75-mph rear impact crash.


OEM Carbon Motors Corporation
Vehicle Platform Codename E7
Brand Carbon Motors
Nameplate To Be Determined
Assembly Location Connersville, Indiana
The Police Car Capital of the World
Price Comparable to Retail Passenger Car Outfitted with Law Enforcement Equipment.
Engine Forced Induction Diesel
Recommended Fuel Ultra-low sulfur (ULS) Diesel
Driveline Rear-Wheel-Drive
Horsepower > 250 bhp
Torque > 400 lb-ft
Transmission Multi-Speed Automatic
Front Brakes 14″ Vented Discs, ABS
Rear Brakes 13″ Vented Discs, ABS
Wheels 19 x 8″ Steel
Tires 245/55R19
Front Suspension Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension Multi-link, coil springs, self-leveling shocks, anti-roll bar
Wheelbase 122.0″
Front Track 66.9″
Rear Track 66.9″
Overall Length 200.0″
Overall Width 78.0″
Overall Height 64.2″
Ground Clearance 7.0″
Curb Weight 4000 lbs
Weight Distribution (front/rear) 50% / 50%
Front Headroom 40.0″
Rear Headroom 38.5″
Front Legroom 45.0″
Cargo Volume 20.0 cu ft
Fuel Capacity 18.0 gallons
0 – 60 mph 6.5 seconds
Quarter Mile 14.5 seconds @ 98.0 mph
Top Speed > 150 mph
Braking 60 – 0 mph 125 feet
Lateral Acceleration 0.85 g
Combined City/Hwy Fuel Economy 28 – 30 mpg
All-new purpose-built vehicle platform exclusively for law enforcement

  • Meets or exceeds all regulatory requirements
  • Turn-key built-to-direct-order – 24/7/365 call center support
  • Turn-key end-of-vehicle-life process
  • Comprehensive warranty
  • Aluminum spaceframe body structure
  • 75 mph rear impact crash capability
  • Cockpit with fully-integrated factory fitted law enforcement equipment
  • Integrated emergency lights, spot lights, take down lights, and directional stick
  • Segment exclusive coach rear doors for safer suspect ingress and egress
  • Vehicle dynamic control
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Optimized approach / departure angles and ground clearance
  • NIJ Level III-A (or better) ballistic protection (front doors and dash panel)
  • Purpose-designed seat for use with on-body equipment – Heated and ventilated seats
  • Heads up display
  • Reverse backup camera
  • Remote start capability
  • Driver specific intelligent key
  • 360 degree exterior surveillance capability
  • Automatic license plate recognition system
  • Video and audio surveillance of rear passenger compartment
  • 130hz – 350hz bass siren
  • Nightvision compliant interior illumination
  • Integrated forward looking infrared system (FLIR)
  • Integrated shotgun mounts
  • Optimized storage capability (compartment and cargo)
  • Integrated front and rear passenger compartment partition
  • Hoseable rear passenger compartment
  • Integrated push bumpers and PIT capability
* Carbon Motors Corporation reserves the right to alter specifications at any time without notice due to business or technical improvements

The Need for a Purpose-Built Law Enforcement Vehicle

Did you know…

that law enforcement officers do not drive custom-made or purpose-built patrol vehicles?

The vehicles that law enforcement agencies use today are retail passenger cars that were never designed for heavy-duty law enforcement usage. Needed law enforcement equipment (such as lights, sirens, radios, cameras, etc.) is then purchased and installed, or ‘upfitted’, to a retail passenger vehicle in the after-market.

Think about it. Firefighters, emergency medical responders, military personnel, mail carriers, and garbage collectors all drive vehicles tailored to the specific needs of their jobs. Shouldn’t the men and women who protect and serve our communities and police our streets deserve a vehicle that will not only keep them safer but help them to perform their jobs more effectively?

Under the current system, law enforcement agencies have no economies of scale in purchasing vehicles, equipment or maintenance services. In addition to purchasing its own fleet of vehicles from a local car dealer, each law enforcement agency is responsible for purchasing the emergency equipment from a multitude of vendors located all over the world. This is why the cost of a fully equipped law enforcement vehicle can total over $80,000.

These costs keep piling up even when it’s time to retire a vehicle. When a law enforcement vehicle reaches the end of its useful life, it must be decommissioned. In order to do so, agencies must remove the vehicle from service, uninstall all of the emergency-related equipment, sometimes re-paint the car, and then sell the vehicle into the public domain.

Law enforcement agencies should be focused on protecting our communities�not overseeing these types of complex fleet management operations. There needs to be a simpler, more cost effective solution.

Carbon Motors will address all of these major issues with the Carbon E7 by providing a reliable, durable, affordable, high-performance patrol vehicle designed by law enforcement, for law enforcement.

Officer Protection and Safety

Did you know…

that approximately 50 percent of all officer injuries occur in the vehicles they drive. Causes for these injuries include not only crashes, but also poor ergonomics, limited space, and injuries stemming from the insertion and removal of combative subjects.

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires crash testing of all vehicles sold in the United States. Unfortunately, there is no such requirement for additional testing once a vehicle has been ‘upfitted’ with after-market law enforcement related equipment. These adaptations are completed at the agency’s own risk. If these heavily modified versions of retail passenger cars were put through the proper tests, they most likely would not pass.

At the request of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Carbon Motors Corporation joined the Law Enforcement Stops and Safety Subcommittee (LESSS) alongside General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler LLC. The committee’s primary focus is on vehicle-related safety matters, which has provided Carbon additional a front-row view of the industry’s challenges on matters of officer safety.

Carbon Motors believes that a purpose-built vehicle produced to the specifications and quality of an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) will yield significant safety improvements for first responders.

The Carbon E7 will meet or exceed all federally mandated safety and operational regulations right off the manufacturer’s line, with all law enforcement equipment installed. The result will be a vehicle that offers the highest level of protection, performance, and safety for the men and women charged with ensuring the safety of the American public.

Fuel Economy

Did you know…

that there are over 19,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States with a combined total of over 425,000 vehicles? These vehicles average only 8-14 miles per gallon and can sometimes drive up to 90,000 miles a year.

With this size fleet, this usage profile, and this type of outdated technology, it is estimated that law enforcement in the United States burns through 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline annually and emits over 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year. And taxpayers are shelling out over $4 billion each year for fuel expenditures alone, a number that only increases as the cost of fuel rises.

Carbon Motors will use superior technologies to improve the performance and durability of a law enforcement vehicle, while also providing up to a 40 percent improvement in fuel economy. This will save taxpayer dollars while providing law enforcement first responders with the right technology for the critical task of securing our communities.

Purpose Built

Purpose-built/per-pes-bilt/: built for particular purpose. (Merriam-Webster)
Purpose-built/per-pes-bilt/: built to kick some butt (Carbon Motors)

The words “purpose-built” describe everything from fighter planes to military vehicles to postal delivery trucks – but not law enforcement vehicles. While the nation’s other first responders and public servants drive vehicles designed for the job, our 800,000 law enforcement first responders drive lightly modified retail passenger cars that were never designed to handle the rigorous, round-the-clock demands of law enforcement.

That is why Carbon Motors has designed the E7—the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle, designed by law enforcement, for law enforcement.

The Carbon E7 has been designed to provide the highest levels of officer protection using world-class technologies and processes.


Internal Code Name: E7 aka “The Machine”

  • Fuel efficient 300 horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque clean turbodiesel engine
  • Ergonomically designed cockpit, built with duty gear and the job in mind
  • Carbon’s proprietary On-board Rapid Command Architecture(ORCA)
  • Radiation, chemical and biological threat detection
  • 360° exterior surveillance audio and video capability
  • 180° interior rear compartment audio and video capability
  • Available automatic license plate recognition system
  • Optional integrated ballistic protection

These represent only a few of the dozens of requirements identified in our extensive nationwide research involving over 3,200 local, county, state, federal and special jurisdiction law enforcement agencies – The Machine is the answer to this overwhelming demand. The E7 will be the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle.


The E7: A Superior Law Enforcement Vehicle

The E7 is engineered to protect officers, improve efficiency and reduce taxpayer burden.

Fuel Efficiency: A more efficient clean diesel engine and fuel system delivers an estimated 40 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to models currently in use by law enforcement.

Patrol Readiness: The Carbon E7 is ready to patrol upon delivery – including graphics, badging and striping – no additional costs or downtime for after-market product procurement and installation. Carbon Motors will also partner with major equipment suppliers for lights, sirens, prisoner transport seats, and other equipment, providing economies of scale not available in today’s ‘up-fitting’ environment.

Officer Protection: Unlike current off-the-line vehicles, the E7 is designed with officer safety and performance in mind, from the 75 mph rear impact crash capability to the integrated emergency equipment to the optional ballistic protection panels. The E7 is delivered without the safety risks associated with today’s ‘up-fitted’ solution.

Innovative Production Process: Our game-changing business model of pull-based manufacturing uses an integrated supply chain and produces vehicles to a direct order from a direct customer. This means our purpose-built vehicles can be offered at a price comparable to current ‘up-fitted’ passenger cars – but for a vastly superior product.

Lower Cost of Ownership: The total cost of ownership – purchase price, equipment options, fuel, maintenance and lifespan – of the E7 leaves other models in the dust. Built to withstand the rigors of law enforcement, and with the fuel efficiency of a clean-burning diesel engine, operating costs will be remarkably lower.


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This is hard work. It is easy to say it cannot be done; it is even easier to sit on the sidelines to wait and see what happens. But this is too important to put off any longer. This is about the security of our homeland, the safety of your family and loved ones, and the pride of our nation.

This is our moment. We ask you to join us and unite for a common cause – a demand that our first responders be treated with the proper and deserved respect, and that they be given the appropriate tools to protect and secure our homeland. If you feel the same energy we do, the same sense of urgency, that same drive and passion we do, then we have absolutely no doubt that all across this great country of ours – we will unite and demand that this vehicle be built to protect and serve in our communities across the nation.

The team at Carbon Motors has given our blood, sweat and tears forcing this special Machine into reality – against all odds, and against all the naysayers and bystanders. The E7 will soon be available to share with all of you.

We would be honored and privileged to have you stand with us.

William Santana Li
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Carbon Motors Corporation


“One thing that has become clear since 2001 is that an effective homeland security strategy demands new solutions to old problems, and Carbon Motors is taking up that challenge. The E7 not only provides greater officer safety and efficiency, it also saves taxpayer money. By improving fuel economy by over 40 percent the more police departments that adopt the E7, the more money we can put directly into critical new law enforcement resources.” – The Honorable Lee H. Hamilton

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Important Links and Resources




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Carbon Motors E7 Screen Savers

Looking for the Carbon Motors E7 Screen Savers

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Carbon Motors Corporation

It’s Here. It’s Real.

Carbon Motors Corporation is a homeland security company focused on a highly specific mission: developing, manufacturing, distributing, and servicing the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle. For some, it is exciting to see a bold new car which stirs the childhood dreams in every single one of us, and drives the passion for seeing the impossible made possible. For others, this is something more. A true symbol of a new day in America – an America that has clarity of purpose in clearly addressing the issues before us – homeland security, the energy crisis, and creating new American jobs.

“At the local, state and federal level, law enforcement is up against entirely new challenges that didn’t exist thirty years ago. That’s why we need to arm the men and women who protect our communities with the most up-to-date equipment. The E7 has the potential to meet that need, which would lead to safer and more effective patrol and policing operations and safer neighborhoods across America.” –The Honorable Thomas J. Ridge, former Secretary, Homeland Security

Most people have a lot of questions about our company and our vehicle. Carbon E7 is essential for today’s law enforcement.

If our Web site just isn’t enough, the Carbon Motors Pure Justice Tour is heading your way. Our concept demonstration vehicle will tour the country from Miami to Seattle and everywhere in between; we are finalizing our schedule, so be sure to sign up for updates! Law enforcement, elected officials and the public will be invited to see the E7 up close.

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Carbon Motors

There was lots of fanfare surrounding the unveiling of Carbon Motors’ E7 “purpose-built” police cruiser several years ago. The company said it would
revolutionize the market, essentially rendering the Dodge, Chevy, and especially Ford mainstays obsolete. Among the car’s more notable features were an
aluminum space-frame structure designed to survive a 75-mph rear impact; a BMW-supplied turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel that could develop 265 hp and propel
the cruiser to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, yet still get more than 30 mpg in the city; 360 degree surveillance capabilities; chemical warfare detection
technology; optional integrated ballistic protection (i.e., it was bullet-proof); and specialized red, blue, and white lights on the windscreen, bumper and

Bottom line: The E7 was prepared for anything. Well, except a crappy economy.

In a radical turn of events, Carbon Motors vacated its Connersville, Indiana factory space (they’ve even painted over the sign) and pulled the plug on its
website last week.

According to a report in the Indianapolis Business Journal, Carbon Motors lost out on a $310 million Department of Energy loan last year that it
desperately needed to help get E7 production off the ground. Though the company was seeking private funding for the project, it apparently was unable to do
so, despite having orders from over 600 police departments.

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Connersville’s economy in jeopardy after Carbon Motors pulls out

After four years of fits and non-starts, the promise of thousands of new jobs has disappeared from a shrinking Indiana community. People who live in Connersville are asking what’s next.

Carbon Motors promised more than 1,500 jobs has pulled out of Connersville in Fayette County. The southeastern Indiana county has the fourth highest unemployment rate in Indiana, 12-point-7 percent.

City officials say they haven’t heard a word from the owners of Carbon Motors in months. Until they get the official notice, or the lease runs out on the empty plant Sunday, they have to assume this deal is still alive. Residents, though, have given up on a big promise that’s become a bid disappointment.

Dick Guttman, a retired Connersville High School teacher, summed it up.

“I am mad, disappointed, but not surprised,” he said while eating lunch at Brian’s Bookstore and Coffee Bar.

Across the aisle sat Mack Lainhart and his wife. Did people see Carbon Motors as the future of Connersville?

“A lot of people sure did. A lot of people didn’t, either,” answered the small business owner.

Carbon Motors made plenty of noise and promises four years ago. At the height of the recession, company officials, Governor Mitch Daniels and a host of leaders announced plans to build a new brand of high tech, high priced police cars, providing high hopes to a city low on luck.

Donna Schroeder owns a small home decorating shop on Connersville’s main street. She was skeptical from the start.

“I thought it was a dream from the beginning and if it came through, then it was wonderful. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in it from the beginning,” she said.

The promises, to many, sounded too good to be true: 1,500 jobs inside the factory, another 10,000 jobs created outside its walls, in a community with less than 14,000 people.

An expected federal government loan didn’t come through. A few days ago a city worker watched office furniture being carried out.

In March 2012, the Department of Energy denied Carbon Motors’ $310 million loan request. CEO William Santana Li called it a political decision during an election year, pointing out in a company press release that the Department of Energy has not approved any loans under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program since the Solyndra debacle.

“Carbon Motors simply appears to be the last victim of this political gamesmanship,” said Li at the time.

The old Ford auto part’s factory is as quiet and empty as the sidewalks and many storefronts in an area with one of the state’s highest unemployment rates.

Chris Fox has two small children. What’s the future in Connersville, according to him?

“Auto stores and gas stations…It’s?” he said, ending his answer in mid-sentence.

It’s certainly not the economic rebirth families hoped for.

Despite their disappointment, city leaders insist the community is better off that is was four years ago.

The vacant plant has been been cleaned up and fixed up to move-in condition.

The publicity of Carbon Motors’ bold idea, even though a failure, has proved priceless to Connersville as it continues to market this huge factory to other companies looking to make a bold move in a new and improving economy.

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What is so special about the Carbon Motors E7?

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