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Carbon Motors chooses BMW to supply engines

The company will begin production on the fuel-efficient cruisers in 2013

By Ken Thomas
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Carbon Motors Corp., a new company planning to produce fuel-efficient police cruisers, said Monday it had chosen Germany's BMW AG to supply its engines.

Carbon Motors is developing the Carbon E7 squad car, which it says is the first vehicle specifically designed for police use. The prototype includes bulletproof door and dash panels, radiation and biological threat detectors and diesel engines that can reduce fuel costs by up to 40 percent.

A BMW diesel engine is seen next to a Carbon Motors law enforcement vehicle during a news conference in Washington. (AP Photo)
A BMW diesel engine is seen next to a Carbon Motors law enforcement vehicle during a news conference in Washington. (AP Photo)

The company, based in Connersville, Ind., said BMW will supply more than 240,000 diesel engines for the squad car, which could get more than 35 miles per gallon. The inline six-cylinder engine includes cooling and exhaust gas systems and automatic transmissions.

Carbon Motors is awaiting approval of a $310 million federal loan so it can begin production of the energy-efficient police car, which is expected to begin in 2013. Chief Executive William Santana Li said the company had cleared an initial hurdle with the Energy Department and was hoping to receive approval this summer.

The upstart company is bringing fresh competition to the U.S. police car market. Ford Motor Co., which sells 70 percent of all U.S. police cars, recently revealed its new Police Interceptor sedan, based on the Ford Taurus, which will replace the Crown Victoria-based cruiser at the end of 2011.

Chrysler Group LLC has a Dodge Charger-based police car that captured 18 percent of U.S. sales last year while General Motors Co. plans to relaunch the Chevrolet Caprice police car after a 15-year absence. GM also sells a police car based on the Chevrolet Impala.

Li said the E7 squad car was "designed by law enforcement, exclusively for law enforcement" after receiving months of feedback from police officers. He said 350 U.S. law enforcement agencies have placed over 13,000 orders for the vehicle.

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