Is that a cop in my rearview mirror? Why is it coming up so darned fast? The jig's up this time, because I've been snared by a police-issue Carbon Motors E7, with turbo BMW power.
The Carbon Motors car isn't on the road yet, though some prototypes with the BMW engine have been built. Carbon Motors announced a deal with BMW Group for 240,000 245-horsepower next-generation BMW diesels this week, but the deal will only happen if Carbon snares the $310 million Department of Energy (DOE) loan it asked for last August. It hopes to finalize that loan in six months, but there are no guarantee.
Carbon is attempting to sweeten the deal for the DOE by agreeing to built the E7 in hard-hit Connersville, Ind., occupying a 1.8 million square-foot plant vacated (at great emotional cost locally) by auto supplier Visteon in 2007. The company is promising 1,550 jobs, plus thousands more indirectly.
It may seem surprising that BMW would sign what could be a vaporware deal, but Ian Robertson, a high-ranking member of BMW's board of management, was there at Carbon Motors' press conference.
The E7 would likely be the first purpose-built police car in the U.S., and also probably the first diesel cop car here (though they're common in Europe, where BMWs, Volkswagens and even Jaguar diesels are pressed into service).
No price has been announced, but Carbon did make its spec sheet available. The car will have a zero to 60 time of 6.5 seconds, complete the quarter mile in 14.5 seconds, and reach 150 mph. Today's Ford Crown Victorias (with the police interceptor package) come fairly stripped, but Carbon will outfit its cars with integrated shotgun mounts, automatic license plate recognition, siren, rear cage surveillance and special fast-exit police seats.
Stacy Stephens is a former Dallas cop and also co-founder of Carbon Motors, which was launched back in 2003. The loan process, he said, is "moving extremely quickly." But many other contenders want a share of that DOE largesse as well. So, only time will tell.
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