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Carbon Motors E7 Police Cruiser: TRANSLOGIC 128
If you recognize the infamous headlight pattern of a Ford Crown Victoria in your rearview mirror, it could be anyone from a taxi, to your grandparents, to a policeman preparing to pull you over. That's because police cruisers have long been based on Ford's ubiquitous full-sized sedan, heavily modified to meet the needs of law enforcement. With Ford finally retiring the trusted "Crown Vic" in 2011, an opportunity opened in the market for a truly purpose-built police car.

Carbon Motors Corporation was founded in 2003 on the dream of producing the perfect police car. The idea gained a lot of attention from investors and media alike, and Carbon Motors took the step of requesting a $310 million loan under the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. But, after years of working with the DOE on terms, the loan was denied on March 7, 2012. Carbon Motors CEO William Santana Li blamed a "highly-charged, election year environment," for what he termed a "political decision."

Well before this, Carbon Motors' founders Stacy Dean Stephens and William Santana, a former police officer and former Ford exec, spent years dreaming up what the future would demand of police officers and their cars. They surveyed hundreds of law enforcement officials and even launched a council with over 1,200 enthusiastic police officers. The result of this research was the Carbon Motors E7, the first purpose-built police car. So what made it so special?

First, Carbon Motors claims that the E7 is different from traditional police cars in that its lifecycle is much longer. Compared to today's police cars that last up to 120,000 miles, the diesel-powered E7 was built to last 250,000 miles, thanks in part to a dependable 6-cylinder diesel motor that Carbon Motors sourced from BMW. Like the Crown Victoria, the E7 is rear wheel drive with power sent through an automatic transmission.

The E7's performance specs were never fully tested, but the company claims the car can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour time in about 6 and a half seconds, with a governed top speed of 155 miles per hour. The diesel motor is reported to put out 265 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque.


The convenience features and onboard equipment are where the E7 stands out most. Heated and cooled seats designed to accomodate a police officer's bulky utility belt begin the list of comfort features. In addition, there is a heads-up display, back up camera and remote start capability. The rear passenger compartment is more accesible due to a unique "coach door" design, and was made to be sprayed down with a hose incase anything messy happens back there.

Add automatic license plant recognition, 360-degree surveillance cameras, nightvision, rear passenger cameras, and a front FLIR infrared night camera system, and you have one high-tech police cruiser. In terms of safety, the E7 has everything from 75 mph rear-impact bumpers to optional bullet resistent panels.

ORCA, or On-board Rapid Command Architecture, is a vehicle information system integrated direct into the dashboard--similar to the touchscreen infotainment system found on the Tesla Model S. This unit controls all the bells and whistles. By plugging into the OBDII port, ORCA can show if there are any problems with the car so they can easily be diagnosed and fixed.


Back in December, Carbon Motors announced they had received almost 25,000 reservations from 638 law enforcement agencies. In addition, their announcement of the TX7 police van showed they had more product flowing in the pipeline.

Unfortunately for Carbon Motors, it looks like the E7 and other purpose-built police vehicle concepts will never happen--at least, not in their current form. Without the DOE loan, Carbon Motors was without the $300 million needed to remodel a vacant Visteon plant in Connersville, Indiana and begin selling cars. As we've seen with other high-tech automotive startups, it's not an easy business to get off the ground.

Shortly after we taped our episode with Carbon Motors, founder Stacy Dean confirmed to TRANSLOGIC that the company had shut down operations.

Nonetheless, all of the attention the E7 received helps to perpetuate the idea that police cars need to be designed, engineered, and manufactured from the ground up, to meet the specific needs of the officers who rely on them. Perhaps someday we'll see such a vehicle. But for now, it looks like police cars based on widely available, full-sized sedans will carry on.

AOL Autos accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own – we do not accept sponsored editorial.

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I believe all State Police Officers should have this vehicle available to them, esp. with the 75mpg rear bumper and what goes with it.

May 09 2013 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since when has a federal agency ever done any thing without some type of payola? 100 million to a bunch of ignorant revolutionaries in Syria but not a damn thing for and US. need.

May 09 2013 at 12:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not to worry. The government will continue to back green energy companies that keep going bankrupt. Why would they want to invest in a product that would actually serve a purpose and sell. A vehicle designed to fill a specific need just makes sense. Instead of modifying a body stlye or glomming on additional tech to an existing platform, this would actually be made to suit it's purpose. These guys need to get creative and seek investors who will no doubt see the promise it offers. The only problem I see for this vehicle is an after market.

May 08 2013 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The police do a great job using the current specially produced domestic vehicles from the big three. Police cars take a beating and need to be replaced when they are wrecked or worn out. Those surplus vehicles typically become taxicabs in later life, so they are recycled and continue to benefit their owners. Realistically, there isn't a need for a proprietary vehicle such as this and it's doubtful that they could be recycled the same way at the end of their service life. These would be ridiculously expensive and would just create more pressure to increase fines and write more citations to pay for them. The current police vehicles are usually maintained by the local dealer. Who would service these vehicles?

May 08 2013 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Must be a reason why no private investors would pony up. Too bad it doesn't say what it would sell for. By the way, don't know where this reporter got the 120,000 mile life span of the current police cars. Our sheriffs dept. auctions theirs off at around 150,000 miles and some are bought by cab companies, repainted and go another 150,000. They are, though., maintained to the max while in service by the department.

May 08 2013 at 5:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Looks like a great vehicle! Now I'm just thinking of all that money that went to FOO (Friends of Obama) as in the Solyndra debackle. Here's something that can really save lives and help society that gets no help, while a con job gets $475 million of new taxpayer debt. So sad....and angering....

May 08 2013 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The first question is ... IS IT AFFORDABLE? I can only imagine the sticker price. Still, it is a hellava police cruiser and would definitely give those who protect and serve a well-needed advantage out there in the bad lands. I'm guessing it is a conspiracy. The government and automakers sat back while Carbon did all the R&D. Then they put them out of business only to later take their work and pass it on to the Big Three to produce a new generation of cop cars. Makes perfect sense to me and I am a conservative ... LOL!

May 08 2013 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Geat about time the built something for Police Officers. These should provide more safety for the Officers

May 08 2013 at 1:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

good start the tec equipment would make it worthwhile get a contract to ford for 12 prototypes to prove it

May 08 2013 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Looks like it would be very good for State Police but for city police I see no use for it as well as the Sheriff Dept. I always get upset when I see a construction job by a contractor that has a police car setting there to make sure the contractor is controlling traffic. That is a bunch of BS and a total waste of tax payers money. This car is made to use and not to just set in. Here in California you see police just setting idol reading a book or what ever. If I had a job like that I would go to sleep because I would be so bored. So I say again, State Police only should have this car.

May 08 2013 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to creed40615's comment

In most states those "idol" police cars are paid for by the contractors, as required by their contracts.

May 08 2013 at 12:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


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