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Carbon Motors Appeals To Obama Administration for Loan

December 20, 2011  | 

Photo: Carbon Motors
Photo: Carbon Motors

Carbon Motors Corp. has turned to President Obama's cabinet for help moving forward its stalled cruiser concept more than two years after submitting a federal loan application.

In an open letter to eight federal department heads and Vice President Joe Biden, the company's chairman and chief executive asked "for your help in making this happen" with the "timely approval of our ATVM loan." Approving the loan would be in the country's national security and socioeconomic interests, William Li wrote in the letter.

Carbon Motors submitted an application in late 2009 to the U.S. Department of Energy for a $310 million loan under an incentive program called the ATVM (Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing) Loan Program. The program was established by Section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to stimulate more green jobs in the automotive industry.

Vehicles developed through the program must meet a higher fuel-efficiency standard—125% of the 2005 base-year CAFE fuel efficiency standards—than similar conventional vehicles.

In his letter, Li addresses each cabinet member in an attempt to make a wide-ranging case for the vehicle. The letter was sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, Commerce Secretary John Bryson, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew.

After unveiling its E7 patrol car in 2008, Carbon Motors brought the vehicle to numerous law enforcement trade shows. In late July of 2009, the company announced it would take over a former Ford factory in Connorsville, Ind., where it would produce the vehicle.

In late November of that year, the company announced that it had secured $100 million in private financing for the vehicle that allowed it to hire associates and open the factory.

At the same time, the company submitted its federal loan application. In January 2010, Department of Energy officials notified the company that it's application was "substantially complete." The company has hired architect Moody Nolan, Inc. to redevelop the campus into an environmentally sustainable facility.

By June of 2010, high-grade supplier partners such as BMW, Bosch, and Inteva agreed to provide the vehicle's engine, electrical architecture, and cockpit.

The E7 patrol vehicle, which had been scheduled to be produced in 2012, is the brainchild of Stacy Dean Stephens, a former patrol officer in the Dallas suburb of Coppell, Texas.

By Paul Clinton

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Comments (20)

Displaying 1 - 20 of 20

TripWire @ 12/20/2011 7:19 PM

If the company cannot get private investors to finance the manufacturing of this car, then they obviously cannot convince investors that it is economically viable and that the car will not generate a return on any investment. Why should the taxpayers take the risk and loan them the money when no one else will especially with our economy in the tank and with record deficits? Obama will make sure they get the loan and take the credit for creating jobs, then the company will go under (because again, it's not economically viable), and we taxpayers will get stuck paying for this, ie: Solaris. This politics as usual will be the end of this country.

Mark A. Brooks @ 12/20/2011 7:40 PM

The company did get private investors. You think a retired police officers can buy a former Ford plant and make a concept car on a pension? Seriously? It's a car made for officers, which no one has ever done. Research the company before speaking as if your opinion is fact.

Scott @ 12/20/2011 9:25 PM

Excellent concept, but this thing will never hit the road. I hope I'm wrong, but doubt it. I drove by the Connersville plant earlier this year, and it is nothing but a shuttered factory with new signs out front. This car is a several year old concept now, and Ford, Chevy, and Dodge have just released excellent new choices that have quite a bit better "security". Again, I love the concept, but just don't see it happening.

R. G. Montgomery @ 12/21/2011 12:35 AM

Sounds like another 'green' (read 'pork barrel') project that will bottom out.

If private investors don't think it worth the risk, the U. S. taxpayer shouldn't either.

There have been many advances in technology of all sorts; none of it based on 'green' technology. If members of the government want to finance this, they should do so from their own pocket.

B. Wicks @ 12/21/2011 3:04 AM

They're appealing to the U.S. Government? We are talking about the same government that ruined General Motors, right? Not a wise decision, IMO.

Fed Cop @ 12/21/2011 6:14 AM

Hey "Scott @", I drove by the TESLA plant in Fremont CA. It was the former NUMMI, formerly Ford Plant, former GM plant. Before TESLA took over, it was a vacant plant. Obama has given TESLA a half a billion dollars to make $100k+ two seat electric cars to go 150 miles before needing a charge. I wouldn't go by the looks of the plant in PA. TESLA still looks empty.

Ken Fifield @ 12/21/2011 6:56 AM

Enough is enough let the free market build our cars, next we will limit the amount of patrol miles for the sake of the Earth.

USLawman1983 @ 12/21/2011 8:09 AM

Didn't we go through this with the half billion dollar Solyndra deal and several other underhanded cronie deals? Enough already!

Adrian Stroud @ 12/21/2011 9:09 AM

I think Stacy Dean Stephens should be commended for his concept. Haven't we all complained that our cruisers should be designed by cops!? The ones actually using the cars? Great idea Stacy. When I was writing grants for my PD in 2009 I tried to purchase Stacy's cruisers but I learned they weren't built yet, pity, because we had the money to buy them. We should ALL back a fellow officer and get our PDs to buy a superior AMERICAN MADE police car. It's about time we stood together and looked out for each other instead of ticketing each other for speeding when we pass through each other's jurisdictions...or chasing each other down highways and then arresting each other. There's a war on cops out there! Let's stick together. I NEVER ticketed another cop in my whole career in the northeast.

AB @ 12/21/2011 10:06 AM

The Government Motors (GM)'s version of an electric vehicle--the Chevy Volt--is a failure. Given the government subsidies to GM to build the cars, whose batteries failed and now GM wants to buy back, it costs $250k per car sold.


DL @ 12/21/2011 10:33 AM

Solyndra is totaly different from Carbon Motors. The government tried to build an invisable market that didnt exist with Solyndra. They tried to force the invisable hand. For Carbon Motors there market does exist and not just in the united states. Police departments are itching to get a chance to obtain these. I know police officers have been waiting for something like this to come along. Carbon already has enough presold to make up for any loan they take. It will become the police car for the police officer. Fireman have firetrucks, EMT's have Ambulances, Police officer need E7's. Heres the thing.....People pay taxes that buy police vehicles that last 100,000 miles and burn alot of fuel. E7's made to be used for road patrol up to 250,000 miles and burns clean desil 40 miles to the gallon. Tax payers would get relief from these vehicles. Departments would on average be able to keep these vehicles for 2.5 years instead of 1 year.

JD Cramer @ 12/21/2011 11:37 AM

Let Carbon Motors compete on the open market. Officers should have more of a voice in the vehicles they drive but let the free market decide. Officer Stephens, the "war" we are having is on all law breakers, thats the oath. Will all respect, no one is above the law, sir. Besides, we need the revenues..just joking.

drobbins @ 12/21/2011 12:43 PM

Building a car from the ground up for police is a little too fantastical,m not to mention costly; better to work with an existing car company to reduce costs. Why not a stripped and plebian Ford Edge? Better visibility, more room for drivers and prisoners, and still have storage space. A "police-only concept was thrown about in the early eighties by GM, using the front end of the Toronado, rear end of another 'big' car for a four wheel drive platform sedan... forgotten and sent to the blueprint shredder. The costs for the ready-to-roll Carbon are beyond the fiscal wherewithall of most municipalities, and at the end of the day, it's just another sedan.

BillyBoi @ 12/21/2011 1:01 PM

Bring back the Tucker would be cheaper!

Richard G @ 12/22/2011 6:57 AM

It does not look that different from a regular car, the rear hinged back doors seem like the biggest change, why not just modify a regular police car ?

reg_law @ 12/22/2011 7:00 AM

Lot of factoids flying around here. AB, the Chevy Volt was designed long before the government was involved. And for all of you who don't want govenment investment: our industry is suffering in part because we don't invest like other countries do. We are being hugely outspent by our competitors. And green technology does pay: look at Germany, who is now a world leader in new technology and raking in the bucks. China will soon be a major force in the development and manufacture of new greener technology, and they will leave us in their dust as electric motors, batteries, and fuel cells become the drive systems of the future. Foolish political dithering on the role of government is what is killing our chances of competing in this. And if you actually check into what happened with Solyndra, you'll find that it had to do with the precipitous drop in the price of solar panels, brought on in part by the heavily government-subsidized development of production facilities in China.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is laughing at us because we can't even come to terms with what everyone else in the world considers settled science: that man-made climate change is a fact.

We'd better wake up fast. This is far bigger than cop supporting cop.

TGM @ 12/22/2011 8:22 AM

Let's face it, large departments like to buy the cheapest cars with the best maintenance history. My agency switched to all Dodge Chargers because they were they were priced below Chevy and Ford, and cost less to maintain so far, and get more $$ back at auction when we are done with them... I don't see any large agency buying into this car for the first few years until the price is right and they see the maintance requirements and that the company makes it...

Looking for a government handout is not a good start. Yes, I know it's a "loan"... Whatever....

desertfuzz @ 12/22/2011 1:05 PM

The Carbon Motors concept was interesting two years ago. Ford and Chevy have stepped up and created competiton that Carbon wasn't expecting. With the prices of diesel up and the improved MPG among the big 3, the Carbon just isnt competitive. Carbon motors might have a future in hollywood for another Robocop movie, but I doubt I will ever be driving one on patrol.

John @ 1/4/2012 4:31 PM

So basically, you're asking for money to produce a car made of components from foreign automakers utilizing public funds, and when you default, as others have in the past, we the taxpayer end up holding the bag? Ummm...great idea...

Having cruisers designed by cops? Not the best idea...I think professional automakers would be the better idea there...too bad we don't seem to have any floating around our country anymore....

Dan Alloy @ 3/13/2013 5:37 AM

The Dems need to get off their ass and get some help for this company. I want my new cars. There is nothing like these in construction from any company. None of the present vehicles have enough protection and what car on the road can take a rear impact of 70 MPH. That is where we are losing our brothers and sisters not in shoot outs. Get it done!

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