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Carbon Motors Denied Federal Loan

March 08, 2012  | 

Carbon Motors took over a former Ford manufacturing plant in Connersville, Ind. Photo: Carbon Motors
Carbon Motors took over a former Ford manufacturing plant in Connersville, Ind. Photo: Carbon Motors

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) won't provide $310 million in loans to Carbon Motors Corp. to produce the purpose-built E7 patrol car, the company announced.

"We are outraged by the actions of the DOE and it is clear that this was a political decision in a highly-charged, election year environment," said William Li, Carbon Motors' chairman and chief executive, in a statement. The company is "actively examining its strategic and financing alternatives."

Almost three years ago, Carbon Motors applied for the DOE funding under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program. The company also blamed the Solyndra loan controversy for the denial.

The company developed a prototype vehicle, took over a former Ford plant in Indiana, and began taking orders for the vehicle. The company says it has received about $200 million in private and public financing and has taken orders from more than 500 law enforcement agencies for more than 20,000 cars.

In December, the company appealed to the Obama administration to grant the loan approval. Other automakers, including Chrysler and General Motors, have been thwarted by the ATVM process.

Chrysler, in mid-February, withdrew its loan application and released a statement that it "remains confident in its strategy to bring competitive, fuel-efficient vehicles and technologies to market on schedule." General Motors partered with Bright Automotive to make extended-range plug-in utility vehicles. That company went out of business last month.

In a message on its website on Thursday, Carbon Motors' Li vowed to "continue the fight" to build the vehicle.


Carbon Motors Appeals To Obama Administration for Loan

Carbon Motors E7 Patrol Car (photos)

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Comments (22)

Displaying 1 - 22 of 22

Mark A. Brooks @ 3/8/2012 7:25 PM

That's too bad. I had a lot of hopes their cruisers would hit the streets soon.

MColon @ 3/8/2012 8:20 PM

There's no way this administration will let a private company compete against government bailed-out auto industry. The prospect of a private company creating jobs producing a superior product and earning a profit is not part of this administration's vision for America.

Jim @ 3/8/2012 8:29 PM

Outrageous! This is a revolutionary type of purpose built vehicle for our law enforcement personnel and not only designed for safety but also for economy and fuel savings as well as it being completely recyclable! To deny this loan is plain and simply outrageous and shows to everyone that the current administration is anti-police.

Tony @ 3/8/2012 9:15 PM

I first heard about Carbon Motors it seems like 10 years ago with regards to the E7. I was pretty excited about it. And if it lived up to the hype, it would be an awesome tool for our profession. But it still is not in production. I am a skeptic of government funding of private business. If there is a product or service there is a real demand for, it's not hard to get private funding. If one thing is sure, if the E7 is a real viable and competitive product, it will find the private funding. I rarely say I agree with the government, especially this administration, but I respect the decision of the government not to fund it. I hope Carbon Motors is successful. But they gotta bring a competitive product, and I don't want to subsidize it.

Ima Leprechaun @ 3/8/2012 11:10 PM

As a taxpayer my concern would be that this technology is not even close to being "green" and would in no way benefit the American citizens toward improving their quality of life. I like the company's idea to build Police Vehicles but I too believe that it is a private venture and should not be subsidized by me. There are state tax incentives available to allow this company a fighting chance to support itself and it should be a private venture.

Ima Leprechaun @ 3/8/2012 11:15 PM

A note for M Colon, all the government loans to the auto industry have already been paid back so your argument does not hold water. Just admit your a hater and leave it at that.

DEADMAN @ 3/9/2012 12:25 AM

Carbon motors should look into other ways for financing,there are enough pigs at the trough.GM has its useless volt subsidized by the federal governmentand they stopped production cause it's a loser.Tesla has roughly $500,000,000.00 in loan guarantees for the Tesla Karma and it broke down on the Consumer Reports test track before it hit 200 miles AND AND it has been described as an ELECTRIC BRICK,if you buy one for $107,000.00 do not under any circumstances leave it unplugged for 10-11 weeks because the battery drains,and all function ceases,it is locked in park and will not move (EVER) and this cute little problem is not covered by warranty and costs $40,000.00 to repair and the repair is not covered by any warranty.
If a police vehicle has not already been fully developed,do you want to trust its safety with your officers lives?The carbon car would mean less jobs for police officers,too much money spent on innovations.
The new transportation bill is supposed to include $500,000,000.00 loan for a Canadian company to build natural gas engines for GM,major American stockholder and wife are major campaign contributors,like solyndra,bill comes up next week,company name is Westport Innovations in Vancouver,British Columbia.

DEADMAN @ 3/9/2012 12:26 AM

By the way, the Volt is still being subsidized.

Tony @ 3/9/2012 2:22 AM

The loans you believe were paid back, were not paid back. The government took stock for payment and still owns 30 percent after the IPO do your homework before you open your koolaid drinking administration loving mouth Ima Leprechaun. You should keep your mouth shut and ears open. Educate your self before you post what just what the administration tells you, politicians tend to lie and morons listen to and believe them.

fox0311 @ 3/9/2012 2:22 AM

Many of you bashing the e7 need to know what you're talking about. The e7 is crash rated to 70 mph not 35 like the current vehicles from the big auto companies. Also, the e7 is very competitive in price as it comes with all your equipmnt from the factory saving money in manhours and having to order aftermarket. the vehicle is also guaranteed to give you 200 to 250k miles of service before needing replacement. The e7 is also built here, in the us, unlike the chevy caprice which is built in australia! Of course they are needing some govt support, competing with companies who have been around forever and have a lot of influence in washington is not an easy task. I have a small business and I got a SBA loan from the govt, does that make me a bad person? Put your textbook arguments away and look at this as a unique situation. Noone has ever done this before.

Duke Jordan @ 3/9/2012 3:48 AM

I just hope they can get the private funding to get it done. Sounds and looks like a great American made vehicle.

Morning Eagle @ 3/9/2012 4:07 AM

Seems pretty clear that Carbon Motors did not contribute enough money to obama's campaign fund to warrant the same favors the other fat cats get. The Solyndra debacle is only one example of the corruption driving this denial of this loan. Does anyone still believe obama and his henchmen give a rat's ass about officer safety and effeciency that would be enhanced by this vehicle's unique attributes that according to Carbon have been designed with the peculiar needs of police work in mind. In the long run they are probably better off if they can avoid any federal money and the inevitable strings that would be attached.

GKN @ 3/9/2012 5:17 AM

As a fleet manager for a Sheriff's Office the thought of a BMW powered police vehicle makes me cringe. They are extremly costlly to maintain and operate. Carbon Motors was/is producing there own brake system? Have to buy repair parts directlly from them. We will be locked into what ever cost they see fit. The cost to maintain operate etc has to be considered in with the proposal to purchash vehicles. The big 3 have steped up the police market big time in the last year. Giving departments plenty of fuel efficent options that there current fleet staff can maintaine and up fit with little or no additional training. Meaning less cost overall for departments across the country. Yes it is a great concept just not going to work for a majority of departments.

Bob Springfield @ 3/9/2012 5:52 AM

I started in law enforcement in 1970. I still work and keep my finger in it and have always lobbied for someone to design and manufactor a standard for police cars. This eliminates all the nonsense of equipment (CAD, shotguns, etc.) been located differently in different model vehicles. Plus the inside of this vehicle looks to be a bit cleaner, i.e. not having a laptop sitting on a pedestal for you to have contact with in an accident. Unfortunately, the big guys (GM, Ford) could not figure this out years ago, but instead sold us the same old cars year after year. I'm in favor of this vehicle as it would give law enforcement a practical vehicle and a new look.

Jim @ 3/9/2012 6:27 AM

This is not asking the Government to buy or invest in this company. It is an application for what basically is a Small Business Loan. The E7 has been completely developed and if everything is in place, it just needs additional start up money that is to be paid back on a schedule. This manufacture will also employ thousand who are currently without a job and bring life back into a town and it's residents. As for the energy savings they are using a revolutionary new Diesel motor that has already proven to be reliable and high mileage engine with clean burning diesel.

rcpd @ 3/9/2012 9:36 AM

Crash rated by who?? They haven't built anything but prototypes. None have been submitted to the govt for testing. I would LOVE to see this come to fruition, but they shouldn't put their hopes & dreams on govt funding. They need a Plan B.

Adrian Stroud @ 3/9/2012 12:18 PM

The E-7 is a great Law Enforcement innovation. It was designed by a cop! How much better an idea for a cruiser do you need? We who have worked the streets know what we need in our cruisers. Good luck Carbon!

rob @ 3/10/2012 11:18 AM

They would have gotten a federal loan if they were planning to develop an all-electric police vehicle that would go at least eight miles per charge per 12-hour shift, transport only non lethal force, and would guarantee that the the company would file for bankrupcy within six months and pay the executives outlandish bonuses......

vikingpj @ 3/11/2012 10:09 AM

At $80,000 + a car.... limited clients and nothing more than pork spending.

The Aqua Buddha @ 3/17/2012 2:10 AM

@ fox0311 Sorry to burst your bubble but ... The Ford PI is crash tested to 75 m.p.h. I'm just saying.

Having said that, I do like the E7. Always have. I like the idea of a small carriage/coach builder doing one thing and doing it well. See also Checker Motors.

But, we are buying the Fords. The platform commonality between the sedan and the SUV and the AWD and the blade resistant panels ... Had to.

The Aqua Buddha @ 3/17/2012 2:39 AM


OH! You are just so funny! Ah hah hah hah hah! See, he was referring to Solyndra. Right? Did you know that the "six months" thing is wrong, right?

Solyndra formed in 2005, applied for the loan in 2006, got approval in 2007, FINALLY got the money in late 2009, by that time the Chinese had forced silicon prices so far down that photovoltaics were selling for between $1-1.50 a watt and Solyndra couldn't remain viable at that price point. To date, Solyndra is the only Dept. of Energy backed solar venture known to have been "troubled". Also, the $535 million loaned to Solyndra amounts to about 1.3% of the total DOE loan portfolio.

In conclusion, it took three years, and a glut of Chinese silicon and electronics to make thin-film PV (in Solyndra's case) untenable. The technology is still sound but the manufacturing processes are still too costly to compete with current technologies.

Hey, that sounds vaguely like what is going on with the E7. Nice segue.

Use the Google, Luke.


[email protected] @ 3/22/2012 9:23 PM

See, they went about all wrong!! Should have claimed to be a Chinese company wanting money to build second-rate squads to be sold in the U.S. only. This the current adm. would have gone for. It's all in the smoke & mirrors.

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