Blue Line

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Carbon Motors E7


December 2, 2011
By Dave Brown

Notable by its absence (again) is the Carbon Motors E7. The E7 seems to have become the ‘vaporcar’ of the decade. After six years of publicity and media announcements, not a single test car has hit the road to prove its optimistic performance figures. It will be interesting to see if Carbon Motors will ever be able to bring this purpose-built police car to market, or if it will become another Bricklin of failed dreams and marketing hype.

Even if Carbon Motors succeeds in keeping the curb weight under 4000 pounds, which is not likely, projected 0 to 60 times of 6.5 seconds on a 250 horsepower engine don’t make sense, and even with all its technology, BMW – suppliers of the twin-turbocharged diesel six-cylinder engine – can’t produce numbers close to that except for the much-smaller 3-series turbo diesel.

Here in Canada, it would be difficult to find two police cars configured exactly the same, let alone two different police agencies. A turn-key police car with all the equipment built-in that is designed for twice the service life of other police vehicles also means early adopters will have to live with what is essentially a beta version of an untested police car for twice as long. If it proves to be a lemon, one can’t simply strip out all the integrated police equipment and dump it to a taxicab company.

Not to mention, it is just downright ugly. Someone once said that everything great in life was first designed on the back of a cocktail napkin, but this design must have been passed around an entire restaurant of committees. Other than a novelty car or two, not too many police chiefs are going to want to blow their entire vehicle budget on fewer and more expensive cars, especially when they are so ugly that most departments would be ashamed to even let one lead the annual harvest day parade.

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While other publications are falling over themselves to heap praise on a car that doesn’t yet exist, the publisher of this magazine and I are of the opinion that the numbers might not add up and the turbo-diesel idea is a one-trick-pony. It may never meet projected mileage figures, especially in Canada where everyone knows that diesel engines at idle can’t generate enough heat to keep the electronics warm, let alone a cockpit for police officers.

When one chief of police asked Blue Line Publisher, Morley Lymburner, if the Carbon Motors police car would be viable for Canada his response was simple. “If it gets into a departmental accident where is your replacement vehicle coming from?” Probably a Chrysler or Ford dealership.

I would officially challenge Carbon Motors to send even one car to the Blue Line Trade Show next April to prove we are wrong.