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March 22, 2010
Indiana cop car start-up to use BMW diesel engines

WASHINGTON – An Indiana start-up hoping to crack the market for police sedans said today it would use BMW diesel engines when it starts production — as soon as the federal government approves a $310-million loan.

Carbon Motors will use an updated version of BMW’s twin-turbo six-cylinder diesel in its E7 police sedans, which it says will be designed strictly for law enforcement work. The company plans to convert a closed Visteon plant in Connersville, Ind., to build the sedans 36 months after the government approves the loans.

The start-up is facing new interest from traditional automakers as the mainstay of police fleets, the cheap but inefficient Ford Crown Victoria, ends its two-decade production run in 2011. Ford has said it will offer a police version of its new Taurus sedan, while General Motors and Chrysler also have made fresh efforts toward the market.

William Santana Li, Carbon Motors chairman and CEO, said the company chose BMW diesels for their reliability, high torque and fuel efficiency. Ian Robertson, BMW’s sales and marketing chief, said the company could supply up to 240,000 engines to Carbon.

Li said Carbon would start production 36 months after winning approval of its loan under the $25-billion program approved by Congress in 2007 for advanced-technology vehicles.

The E7 as designed by Carbon is a stout-nosed sedan with suicide rear doors, built-in gun holders and seats that can fit a driver wearing a duty belt. Li says Carbon plans to build 10,000 a year to start, and says it has 13,000 pre-orders; it will not sell any E7s to the public.

Carbon has yet to reveal how much an E7 will cost, but Li said they would be designed to save agencies money once operating costs are factored in. He also said the E7 would last twice as many miles as the typical police vehicle, which can cost $50,000 to $60,000 after equipment charges.

LINK: Indiana cop car start-up to use BMW diesel engines | | Detroit Free Press
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