The Beginning and End of Carbon Motors’ “Relentless Drive” in Police Car Innovation
There is one thing that the average person is looking for, wherever he may be: security. This is why every state or country tries to improve their police force – from training its officers to providing them with tools that will help them do their job efficiently. One such tool that the police force use on a daily basis is the patrol car. Its presence in a particular area serves as a reminder that safety is being observed in its vicinity. It also assures the public that alleged perpetrators will immediately be taken to custody and the authorities could easily go after them if they try to make a run for it. Police cars, therefore, are symbols of safety and security in places where they can be seen.
But even if standard police cars are able to do the job right, it wouldn’t hurt to try and improve the service for the people. This became the vision of Carbon Motors – to provide the best police car to be used by law enforcers all over the country.
What is Carbon Motors?
Also known as Carbon Motors Corporation, it is an American automotive company that focused on police car manufacturing. The corporation was founded on 2003 in California by Stacy Dean Stephens (who was a police officer in the past) and William Santana Li (a former executive at Ford Motors). In 2006, it moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where it continued to develop its product as well as gain funds from investors. In 2009, the headquarters is moved to Connersville, Indiana. This move is made to convert a plant previously owned by Visteon using $350 million of its fund.
Unfortunately, the company filed for bankruptcy and stopped its operations in 2013.
What made the Carbon Motors brand so popular?
Although it is obvious that the company is now defunct, it is undoubtedly known because of the following:
- The company caters to a niche market – although it is not new to encounter businesses that focus on a specific area of a vast field, Carbon Motors did it with cars. Its dedication to provide the best service vehicle for police officers helped its cause of getting investors to fund its development.
- It was not just a repurposed civilian automobile missing hubcaps with stickers and a light bar
- The specifications of the prototype car have never been seen before – even if the police force already has police cars, all of them are just “modified” makes of cars that are also sold to the public. This simply means that its performance is not a notch higher than what the average civilian can buy. Carbon Motors promised a car that is not only different from what is sold by other manufacturers; it is also equipped to help police officers to do their jobs better. It even tied up with BMW so that their prototype will sport the engine used by the world-class car manufacturer!
The E7 and its specifications
Although the company has existed for 10 years, it only introduced one model known as the E7. The prototype is revealed to the public during the “Pure Justice Tour” in 2008, and the car is said to be strictly available for the police force all around the country. If successful, Carbon Motors stated that the vehicle will be released in 2012.
Seeing the exterior of the vehicle alone can shock viewers. Its body is comparable to sports cars painted to look like a police vehicle. But aside from its look, the E7 boasts the following specifications:
- Sports the BMW’s straight six diesel engine with turbo, making it more fuel efficient compared to most police cars (which uses gasoline engine). The engine makes the E7 capable of going from 0 to 60 in just 6.5 seconds and reaches speeds of up to 155 mph.
- The vehicle’s rear wheel drive allows for better handling and braking, making it equipped for high-speed chases.
- Having six-speed automatic transmission, it is easier for police officers to maneuver on tight areas without slowing down as compared to manual transmission vehicles. Remote start capability also allows for the car to startup as early as possible, reducing the waiting time before the police officer can respond to a call.
- Level III-A (or even better) ballistics protection for the car’s dash panel and front doors. This will ensure that police officers will not be harmed by aggressive criminals.
- The E7 has an HUD (heads-up display) installed. This allows the officer to access data without having to look away while operating the vehicle. This becomes highly useful when combined with the programmable and upgradeable automatic car license plate recognition system. This enables the officer to instantly run the plates and get information without having to call their station.
- The vehicle has a 360 degree exterior surveillance system and is capable of automatic recording. This allows police officers to continue monitoring what is happening outside even while inside. The recordings will also serve as evidence against potential perpetrators.
- Suspects or guards seated at the back can also be monitored, as the compartment for rear passengers is equipped with audio and video surveillance. The seats are also made to properly accommodate handcuffed perpetrators, and are equipped with other features that will make escape almost impossible.
- Compartment and other storage areas (such as those for weapons) are secured and spacious enough to accommodate almost everything that an officer needs for an investigation – even forensic equipment! This allows for swift action and an increased chance of catching or getting information (such as prints or ballistics) from the suspect earlier.
The “End” of Carbon Motors
While the project can certainly provide a huge improvement on the police vehicle, Carbon Motors was not able to see their plan in fruition. One such situation that contributed to their downfall is the refusal of the country’s Department of Energy to approve the company’s loan for the purpose of developing the E7. The company believes that this refusal was politically motivated. It was later clarified that politics is not really the issue, but the ability of the company to repay the loan once the project is delivered. There are also unpaid and deferred wages on some of the company’s executives, making it a sign that the company is not doing well financially. This led to a lawsuit on May 22, 2013.
On March 2013, Carbon Motors started to remove their equipment and vacate their plant. This is due to the fact that their lease will expire on March 31. This is followed by the website and Youtube channel of the company shutting down. On April 2013, Carbon Motors is officially shut down.