After six years of work, Carbon Motors has unveiled its first E7 purpose-built police car. The car was debuted earlier this week at a ceremony in Detroit and will go on tour around the U.S. beginning in Chicago on October 14.
Carbon Motors, as you may recall, was featured in a column by our very own Frank Markus in the October issue of Motor Trend and can be found HERE. At press time, we only had renderings of the car to go off of, but now Carbon Motors has taken the wraps off of their prototype. The E7 looks like nothing else on the road and is designed specifically to be a police car. On the outside, the car will feature easy-to-replace body panels, built-in push bars in the front and rear bumpers, and light bars built into the body work so they don't interfere with the car's aerodynamics. Inside, the car has been designed to incorporate a computer and controls for the lights and sirens. Unlike current police cars, which are converted from consumer models, none of the equipment will impact the driver and passenger's space, nor will it block the vents or airbags. The car is also designed to give the front seat passengers more leg room and makes the loading and unloading of suspects easier with rear-hinged, wide-opening doors.
"If you look at public safety and public service, the firemen design the trucks. That is what they want. You look at ambulances, they are designed to be an ambulance," said Lee Brown, a member of Carbon Motors' advisory board in an interview with Automotive News.
Carbon Motors' cars are designed with the same idea in mind, to give police a purpose-built vehicle. The cars will be delivered with all of their equipment already installed and all markings already applied.
"Today, they buy the cars for $24,000, $26,000. Then they add up to $55,000 of aftermarket equipment for computers, radios, light bars and other equipment," said William Santana Li, CEO of Carbon Motors.
Carbon Motors will also retrieve the car when it has reached the end of its service life, unlike current police cars, which are typically sold off to the public. The E7 cars will be dismantled and recycled by Carbon Motors, never reaching the public's hands.
Law enforcement agencies "asked that we take these vehicles back at the end of their life and decommission them, recycle them," said Li. "Today the criminal element is buying these cars because they still look like police cars" after they are taken out of service.
While the E7 prototype is on tour to generate orders and attract investors, Carbon Motors will be building a plant to assemble the cars. Li told Automotive News that the company is negotiating with six states for a factory location, but would not say which states. He expects a final decision to be made some time next year.
"What we're building is a light industrial assembly facility. We will not be putting up a stamping facility. There is no complicated body shop. There is no $300 million paint facility," said Li. "Basically, we are a trim and final assembly line."
Carbon Motors hopes to begin selling the E7 to law enforcement and homeland security agencies in 2012.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Carbon Motors