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Carbon Motors E7  (Source: Carbon Motors)
Please sir, may we have $300 million?

The push to move the U.S. to newer technology cars and trucks that are more efficient in fuel consumption and produce fewer emissions is focused heavily on the consumer segment of the industry. In many areas, some of the most fuel consuming and polluting fleets are those for public service workers like law enforcement. 
 
A company called Carbon Motors is soliciting the government for a loan to help it produce the first vehicle in the country specifically designed for police officers. In a letter to the members of President Obama's cabinet, the company outlines its need for a $300 million loan.
 
The letter reads in part:
 
Over two years ago, Carbon Motors filed an application for a loan of over $300 million with the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program. The ATVM direct loan program was established in a bi-partisan manner by the Bush Administration and has been carried on by the Obama Administration.
 
We have secured a mothballed automotive facility located in a town with unemployment at rates significantly higher than the national average – Connersville, Indiana – a victim of the fallout of automotive industry at the end of the last decade. With the ongoing criticisms aired concerning the U.S. Department of Energy's loan guarantee programs and the ATVM direct loan program, our country faces a critical decision now that will have significant impact on our first responders, taxpayers, environment, highways, our manufacturing employment base and the security of our homeland.
 
Carbon Motors is seeking the funds in order to produce its E7 police vehicle. The car is designed to be functional, safe, and fuel-efficient. The car has a turbodiesel engine with 300hp and 420 lb-ft of torque and is specified for a durability span of 250,000 miles. The cockpit of the car is ergonomically designed for comfort and to fit all the duty gear an officer needs for the day. The car has a radiation-, chemical-, and biological-threat detection capabilities.
 
The E7 also steps up monitoring capabilities by including a 360-degree exterior surveillance for audio and video. The car is also designed with 180-degree interior rear compartment audio and video recording for the rear compartment of the vehicle. The car can be had with an optional license plate detection system and optional integrated ballistic protection.
 
The company claims the car will be safer for police officers, produce less pollution, and save money on fuel as well. Carbon Motors is likely seeing delays in a verdict on its loan application due to the third-party review process that green government auto firms are going through.

Source: Carbon Motors



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Are people waiting for this?
By tng on 12/19/2011 1:53:53 PM , Rating: 4
So the real question is, are there police departments out there that want this vehicle?

I am sure that they have "forecasts" that have a rosy outlook, but is there someone like LAPD, NY State Patrol that have said that "If you make it, we will buy it."?

Or is this just another Solyndra loan...




RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Sazabi19 on 12/19/2011 2:44:23 PM , Rating: 5
I worked for the Sheriff's Dept. here in Indianapolis and the car was received well. When this vehicle was just designed they started sending out videos and emails to LE agencies and the buzz of MCSD and IMPD were both very positive about this vehicle. The list of features of these (even standard) are incredibly practical for LE use and seemed to be rather robust if the claims were true. A lot of depts. have moved to chargers because they have better gas mileage and still serve as a useful and roomy enough vehicle for officers. Depending on the price of these vehicles they could see good savings on fuel IF diesel prices go down. These are tailored to LE use have all the lights built in and things are easily changeable. The back seats are plastic with molded contours for the offender's hands to be in handcuffs in the proper position and buckled. Since they are plastic they are very easy to rinse with a hose as well (the front seats are not plastic). With the light bar pretty much gone that will also make these cars more aerodynamic having them built into the pillars and frame of the vehicle. I personally think depending on the price it will be quite well received.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By jimbojimbo on 12/19/2011 2:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure police departments would want this vehicle but the true question is how many can afford it? What's going to be the retail price on this thing? Do police officers necessarily want all the features and pay the substantial sum for them?

After this loan every police department is going to request loans to buy one or two of these things.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Sazabi19 on 12/19/2011 4:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think they should put out a sort of survey, test the waters. If we can get x amount of cars ordered from x departments we can get prices to at least x, then how many depts. would be interested? Just start to email LE agencies and ask, see what the market is. The above is obviously Carbon Motors asking. Just see if they can get it to a practical level. Police cruisers are not cheap and don't stand up to the abuse all that great. Maybe these can help deviate some of that and present a savings in the long run.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By NellyFromMA on 12/20/2011 1:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
Any PDs looking for new vehicles will be the market... They aren't going to likely talk PDs out of whatever they have now. This is for new purchases, and PDs will always need new vehicles one way or the other. The better suited to their job, the better.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By RU482 on 12/19/2011 4:02:17 PM , Rating: 4
why would diesel prices go down?


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Sazabi19 on 12/19/2011 4:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
It's just a hope. If there were that signifigant of a fuel savings I would get a diesel vehicle, but if I can get a small vehicle that gets a few MPG lower for about 70 centers per gallon difference than I will stick with regular unleaded (it's like 67 cents difference right now in Indy I think).


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By AntiM on 12/19/2011 3:23:07 PM , Rating: 5
If there's a market out there for this sort of thing, then let private investors take the risk. It's an interesting concept...designing a vehicle from the ground up for LE, rather that retrofitting a production vehicle. I would like to know how much these things will cost.

$300M, that's just too much risk to the taxpayer. I say... DENIED. As soon as they start production, some Chinese company will start making the same thing for half the price.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By lightfoot on 12/20/2011 4:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying that legitimate businesses with good business plans shouldn't be allowed to get government backed loans?

Even if they do qualify for private funding it would be foolish NOT to also apply for government loans. This is just good business. The government loans frequently have better terms, lower interest, and more leinient requirements.

It is not their fault that the government is giving away money like it's going out of style. Honestly I would love for MORE good businesses to get federal funding than most of the crap that does. Then, maybe the government loans would actually get paid back.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Mint on 12/19/2011 3:26:06 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, they're going about this the wrong way.

This isn't a free market they're targeting, as police departments are funded by the public. Talk to the police departments, see what kind of cost they're willing to put up with, and get conditional contracts before buying a factory. No need to deal with the risk that most businesses face, and private investment will come pouring in then.

The jobs appeal is pretty dumb, as police departments are already cars designed and built in the US. How about the jobs lost if police departments buy their cars? Sounds like this proposition is pretty close to zero sum to me.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Sazabi19 on 12/19/2011 3:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
Crown Vics are no longer in production. The cars they are starting to go to now are Dodge Challengers, factory made, not to order. Now they have them sent off and painted the color they want and have decals put on, but for the most part this stuff is either done with people that the police contract or in-house by the fleet techs. The same can be said probably about these new Carbon E7's. They will come off the line in 3 (guessing here) basic colors, black, white, and brown/tan. After that the dept. orders them, puts on their decals and possibly anything else they want. They will save money right there on light bars (very expensive and wind resistant). Jobs should not be lost on this as Dodge will still produce their Challengers but now a new company will need employees to build and the fleet techs are still fixing cars. Most of the Crown Vics (patrol cars) have about a 2 year USEFUL life span to them if they are on the street, they rack up a LOT of miles on them very quickly and require a lot of maintenance. I do not know about the other cars but I am hoping they can be used longer. If we could get some testing vehicles and show that there is a savings in there compared to other vehicles then have a bunch of depts. put in orders and try to reduce the price. This all should be dependent on price and savings.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Mint on 12/19/2011 4:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
Testing vehicles are fine, but you don't need $300M for that. I still say contracts could be secured before jumping all in with a factory, and it's much better than blindly hoping cash-strapped cities will fund new police vehicles.

As for the jobs, you don't seem to understand my point. If departments stop ordering Challengers over the next 5 years, then Dodge won't hire as many people to build/maintain them in the future, other companies who modify them will make layoffs. That will mostly counter any new jobs created by Carbon E7 production. It's largely substitutive.

At least with the greentech subsidies, there is at least the hope that an export industry is being created, imported oil will go down, air gets cleaner, etc rather than just waiting and finally ceding the market to the far east.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Just Tom on 12/19/2011 4:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
No police department is going to commit to purchasing a vehicle that does not exist. You are talking about entities that plan their capital budgets years in advance, what are they going to do if Carbon goes belly up?


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Mint on 12/20/2011 1:46:14 AM , Rating: 2
If Carbon goes belly up, then they just do what they've always been doing and modify consumer vehicles.

If police departments really are worried about that possibility, and if you're right in suggesting that they won't buy cars because of that risk, then Carbon has no chance. They could never sell a car, as the risk of going bankrupt will always be there.

I suspect that you're wrong, though. Any monopsony with a unique need will have to sign a contract to get something built for them. Lockheed wouldn't design, test, and build assembly lines for F22s without a contract beforehand.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By rika13 on 12/19/2011 9:30:30 PM , Rating: 3
Actually the Dodge cop car is the Charger, and it does have a number of police features, just like the Ford CVPI and now Taurus and Chevy Impala. These include higher ride height (run over curbs like a monster truck), stiffer suspension, engine oil and transmission coolers (Dodge also throws in a power steering fluid cooler), calibrated speedometer (no radar needed), hour meters (for maintenance), inoperable rear windows and doors (now on many normal cars to keep kids from escaping), those famous steel cop rims (they will bend rather than break), the ever-cool spotlight, and pre-drilled holes for antennae. Things like plastic rear seats, push bars, lights and specialized electronics are installed by at third party (either contracted or employed) and removed for reuse before the vehicle is auctioned off.

NYPD only cares about gas mileage and therefore rolls with Impalas since they have V6s with cylinder deactivation. Most places that are using CVPIs are buying extras and/or keeping them longer until they can qualify a different vehicle.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Alexvrb on 12/19/2011 10:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
Remember the now-defunct Pontiac G8 platform (Zeta platform)? The GT model was an especially good bargain. It seemed like such a waste... but at least it found new life in a Police application, especially with the upgraded suspension, as a Caprice PPV.

It has two engine options. For the V6 it has the newer DI 3.6L, 87-octane tune. Decent power, decent mileage, especially for a large RWD police vehicle. It's a bigger vehicle than the Impala (although the 2012 Impala V6 has similar output now), and more power than the V6 Charger.

They can also order it with the AFM 6.0L V8 as a no-cost option. They didn't tune it for maximum horsepower, so it still turns out halfway decent mileage and runs on 87 octane. Either engine will run on any mix of gas and ethanol up to E85. Both are coupled to a police-tuned 6 speed auto (6L80 IIRC, fairly stout RWD tranny).

It also has lots of 9C1/9C3 upgrades, like upgraded suspension and brakes, better axle ratios, EPDM rubber hoses, limited slip, engine/trans/steering coolers, optional auxilary battery, etc.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By rich876 on 12/20/2011 1:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
The GM Chevy Caprice is the new police car of choice. It's the best police car out there. Much better than the Ford Crown Victoria. I'm surprised no one seems to know this info.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/19/2011 3:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
Is there even a need for this except for further funding the oppressive police state we seem to be moving toward in this country?

The current police cars are good enough in my opinion.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By geddarkstorm on 12/19/2011 3:47:33 PM , Rating: 4
No matter how much we may disagree with the policies and directives that the overseers of the police force are giving our guys in blue, we should never disrespect the officers themselves on principle. They do such a valuable, and dangerously hard job for us. Can you imagine working day in and day out, rounding up dangerous people, rushing straight into spots of unknown threat?

I live in a place where the only thing keeping the populous from consuming itself in anarchy is our police force. I have nothing but complete respect for the daily lives and duty of our officers.

If we want to fight the oppressive nature of our growing police state, we have to take on the policy makers and legislatures that are behind it all; not our officers who are just doing their job and what they are ordered.

So, with that said, I'd love to see their lives made easier and efficiency increased with a vehicle like this. Officers are more than worth it.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/19/2011 5:13:06 PM , Rating: 1
Where did you see me disrespecting officers in that post? You're projecting a bunch of stuff on me that I never said or even implied.

quote:
So, with that said, I'd love to see their lives made easier and efficiency increased with a vehicle like this. Officers are more than worth it.


That's fine, I have no problem with that. The issue is requesting federal money to bring a product to the market. If it's such an obvious winner in this segment, they should be able to do it with private sector loans or investment capital.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By geddarkstorm on 12/20/2011 3:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, you did fully imply it when you said "further funding the oppressive police state". How can an improved vehicle add to an "oppressive police state"? The oppressive or "police state" nature of our society can only be achieved through terrible laws and ordinances, not through the actual gear our officers have. The implication that giving them better gear funds oppressiveness is a slight against the officers themselves. Even if you didn't mean it that way, as I'm sure you didn't, that is the direct implication, so I just clarified it.

The police are a public service run by the public. Why would vehicles suited solely for them have to be privately made and profitable? Especially if by "profitable" they are still just making their money from the police and thus still from public funds all the same? Doesn't that strike you as silly?

Simply roll it into the police budge and call it good, if there is room in the budget, and if the public wishes to give more funding. But it is ridiculous in my view to say it must be via the private sector, when it's all going to be paid for by public funds in the end anyways. The police force isn't a market, and previous vehicles were just customized off of production models for the general populous. This is a vehicle made specifically for police first: though, it looks sweet and could be retrofitted for the general public, and thus could actually make the public money in a private way through that.

It's all a matter of how much we wish to fund and equip our police force, but this is one matter I feel which should not be dragged into the "public versus private" funding debate that is important for other spurious, even dubious, government endeavors.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By tng on 12/20/2011 4:43:07 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
How can an improved vehicle add to an "oppressive police state"?
Well, for instance, since it records what goes on in the back seat, if you mumble something and the mike and camera pick it up, then they can use this in court, no matter how it was meant at the time.

I don't know if cop cars now have this capability, but I could go on about how the specifics of this car could be used to suppress your rights.

RC77 comes from the camp that says if they have a tool that can be used against you, eventually they will. Can't say that I disagree with him there, do you trust politicians? For the most part the police are controlled by politicians.

Or maybe I am just paranoid...


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By TSS on 12/19/2011 7:30:37 PM , Rating: 1
I live in a place where there's only a 4% chance that when you steal something, you will get caught. The police force is used almost exclusively to write tickets for speeding, alcohol controls and whatnot. The only reason we haven't decended into anarchy is because we police ourselves.

It's not just the people that set policy. Officers are people too. You always have the option to refuse. Yes, there's a danger of getting fired. Unless you stand united and everybody refuses to play ball as long as the ball doesn't make sense.

They are supposed to serve and protect the people. Instead they have become nothing more then tax collecters. I will not respect that. And to all who say "well if you are fined then you must've broken the law" i say, "the law is not an absolute". It is something to be reviewed on a case by case basis. If it was, we might as well merge cases together of crimes that fall in the same catagory and just judge en masse. Maybe then trials will take months instead of decades.

There are good police forces out there. But they do not deserve your respect just because they put themselves "in the path of danger". They deserve respect when they serve the people.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By robywire on 12/19/2011 11:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
Let me rephrase that for you.

quote:
....I'd love to see their lives made easier and efficiency increased with a vehicle like this. Officers are more than worth it.


I'd love to see their lives made easier and efficiency increased with a vehicle like this, even if there is no indication that there will be any increase in efficiency or ease. It doesn't matter what it costs, Officers are more than worth it. And besides, it would make me feel better if I could do this for them with other peoples money.


By geddarkstorm on 12/20/2011 2:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
Hate to break it to you, but the police force is always paid for by my and other people's money. As it should be. There are some services for the public that must be maintained by the public.

And the money asked to bring these vehicles to market is nothing compared to the vast majority of other government projects and fundings which have little to no direct impact or public good. Looking at the list of features for this vehicle, it's obvious it will, if it lives up to it all, have a good impact for the public good, through the police force.

Don't let your pendulum swing too far to the other side. Craziness is the same on either end of the spectrum.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Indianapolis on 12/20/2011 1:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
funding the oppressive police state we seem to be moving toward in this country?


It's not a police state we're moving toward, it's a bureaucratic static. I don't know about you, but I haven't seen more police on the roads lately.

In fact, most local/state police department budgets have been squeezed in recent years, and some have had to reduce their numbers. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has been increasing in both numbers, and scope of authority.


By Indianapolis on 12/20/2011 1:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure how "state" became "static".


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Keeir on 12/19/2011 4:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
Short answer: No.

This car is really great, but its far more expensive upfront. I think Carbon Motors was predicting 60,000-80,000 intro price. Which, is really not out of line considering it has a BMW 335d engine, carbon fiber body panels and a host of special law enforcement extra. Its probably the most capable and lowest operating cost choice... but I think a Charger costs less than 40,000 when modified for LE... so...


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Sazabi19 on 12/19/2011 4:19:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, LE vehicles are not cheap. A lot of people really don't know what hardware is put into these things. Even if it looks cheap, it's usually not. Thank manufacturers who know this stuff is needed but there are only a few out there and can jack the price up, not LE enteties. A laptop mount is usually several hundred dollars for just the materials, light bars are a few hundred easy, 1K+ depending on what you want. Those are just a few things.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/19/2011 9:02:46 PM , Rating: 1
You humorless bastards...


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By tng on 12/19/2011 10:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, I forgot about that.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/19/2011 10:57:33 PM , Rating: 2
Hey if the 1986 Taurus is good enough for Robocop, it'll work for our boys in blue!! LOL :P


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By LordSojar on 12/19/11, Rating: -1
RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/19/2011 7:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
no, we owe none of that credit to NASA, who has seen their funding sliced into a billion little shreds for the sake of "the free market".


NASA's budget get's cut so more money can go to entitlement spending and other government programs. The free market is responsible for NASA budget cuts? You are INSANE.

quote:
Solyndra was a tiny scratch on otherwise flawless paint job.


HAHAHA, buddy, what are you selling here!? Flawless??


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By LordSojar on 12/20/2011 1:43:53 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
HAHAHA, buddy, what are you selling here!? Flawless??


I dunno, something better than "Regan is the new Jesus".. but w/e. Whiners, the lot of you! BOO HOO. QQ.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Nfarce on 12/20/2011 10:33:29 PM , Rating: 1
Pretty funny considering Obama was reading Reagan's bio at the beginning of this year on one of his many vacations while Rome burns:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackob...


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By LordSojar on 12/21/2011 7:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Pretty funny considering Obama was reading Reagan's bio at the beginning of this year on one of his many vacations while Rome burns:


Obama has taken far fewer vacations than most presidents. The least you could do is get your facts straight. Oh, and last I checked, Obama != Nero.... but ok. Actually, neo-conservatives are far more similar to Nero... inbred and stupid.


By Skywalker123 on 12/21/2011 12:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
Reagon ,couldn't be the new Jesus, that's Obama's job


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By tng on 12/20/2011 8:10:42 AM , Rating: 1
Really I was just asking if this was a good use of the money. The Solyndra "investment" was just comparison of where government and the current admin gave money out because it made them look good, despite the fact that people on both sides said it was smoke and mirrors.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By Hulk on 12/19/2011 8:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the real question is if this car is so great why can't they get private investors. That's the good old fashioned way to start a business. The government is easy to convince because they invest other people's money, ours. Private investors are more careful because they are putting their money on the line.
It's not the government's job to pick business winners and losers. They need to stay out of it.

If the Police departments want it bad enough that will convince private investors to invest.

This is yet another attempt to scam the government out of money for a failed business idea.


RE: Are people waiting for this?
By unksol on 12/20/2011 7:20:24 PM , Rating: 3
Yes. People are waiting for this. I rode with an officer 2 YEARS ago who told me about the company and wanted one. It was designed with law enforcement input. They have 20,000 preorders from 600 departments. They have the demonstration vehicle built and are touring it. Every police officer is going to want one of these, and their departments are going to buy them to save money.

They are going to cost about the same at first, be cheaper to operate, and come out of the factory fully badged and customized to the the departments specs. No buying aftermarket equipment and then paying to have it installed. And there's a lot of it. And then paying to strip it out 2 years later so they can try and sell an abused high mileage car. You send it back and pay a fee to refurbish it. You don't need to pay for a brand new one when the body is fine.

And they have features you just can't get on a Charger.
You tell me that they don't need a 75MPH rear collision rating the next time you see some moron plow into the back of a state trooper on the side of the highway. Or balistic protection in the dash and doors when they are getting shot at. Or sensors for radiation and chemical detection when there's a hazerdous waste spill or gas leak they are trying to keep you safe from and track the blown fumes. When you can have something thats safer for officers, arrestees, and the rest of us at the same price its a great idea.

The goverment gives loans all the time to help start businesses. There's no reason they shouldn't apply for one. And if a low interest goverment loan saves them money, and keeps the cars cost down then thats good. I am no fan of the auto bailouts, but if GM can pay it back these guys can too. And of all the things to give a loan to, one for the development of a public service vehicle that is going to save the public money and improve saftey is a heck of a lot better than solyndra.


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