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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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Here we go again!
By kjboughton on 12/19/2011 4:14:38 PM , Rating: 3

RE: Here we go again!
By idiot77 on 12/19/11, Rating: -1
RE: Here we go again!
By Just Tom on 12/19/2011 4:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
Not every venture can be done by "market forces". Certain high risk and large scale projects need public backing. At least this is a loan with the intent of having it paid back.

If the loan was likely to be paid back Carbon could secure financing now. The risk is likelier much higher than the interest rate to be charged.

What exactly about a small botique auto-manufacturing company catering to a small niche that is already well served warrants public financing?

If this was a defense contractor making a new vehicle for the military would you still complain as loudly? Probably not.

I would.

RE: Here we go again!
By Reclaimer77 on 12/19/2011 8:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
If this was a defense contractor making a new vehicle for the military would you still complain as loudly? Probably not.

That's what this is! Let's be honest here. This will not be available to the general public, and is being manufactured by a company who's sole purpose is to provide this vehicle to the police. They're practically a state government defense contractor, or they not?

Another dofus on Anandtech that doesn't seem to understand the concept of public/private partnerships.

We understand the concept of ppp's just fine. And the predictable failure of them as well.

RE: Here we go again!
By Mint on 12/20/2011 11:30:06 AM , Rating: 2

I think a lot of the government investments were wise calculated risks, as they (and the US as a whole) reap benefits from an entire industry if it pans out, whereas a VC firm will benefits from one company's value. The Fed dabbling in propping up startups is a really tiny part of the deficit with a potentially high payoff.

HOWEVER, in this particular case, I don't agree at all. This company is going to produce a product for a monopsony: the public sector police forces. Secure a contract first, just like a defense contractor, and then Carbon will get enough private investment for production.

RE: Here we go again!
By shin0bi272 on 12/20/2011 3:58:36 AM , Rating: 1
RE: Here we go again!
By Black1969ta on 12/20/2011 5:48:19 AM , Rating: 1
Why would a Company want to recieve private funding and face all the hurdle of dealing with extra shareholders and that B.S. when they can get a Gov. backed loan at a low interest rate. and all they have to worry about is staying afloat or skipping the country the day before declaring Bankruptcy?

This project may be a great idea but until production grow enough to reach economy of scale they will need public funding. and those of you who whine about testing doesn't cost $300 Mil. Think again! GM may not spend $300 Mil to completely test a new model, but once again they have economy of scale and most of the equipment can be divided over the years and other models to be tested.

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