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The Next Generation of Police Cruisers - page 3 / 5





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Relocating some of the radio gear to the trunk clears the dash for a touch-screen computer monitor. The driver’s seat has been specially sculptured — based on extensive field tests — to comfortably accommodate the holstered pistol, handcuffs and Taser weapons that officers typically carry. The car also has lockout switches for the power windows and door locks.

CARBON MOTORS E7 If the ambitious plans of a start-up company in Connersville, Ind., materialize, a true dark-horse alternative will report for police duty in three years. Carbon Motors says the E7 would be the first purpose-built law-enforcement vehicle.

By starting from scratch instead of retrofitting an existing family sedan, Carbon can incorporate a long wish list of special features. An aluminum space frame cloaked with composite-plastic body panels is engineered to provide strength and crashworthiness with a relatively svelte unloaded weight of 4,000 pounds.

The E7 prototype is the same width and a foot shorter than the Crown Vic. .And it is six inches taller for easier entry and more visual intimidation. A 122-inch wheelbase — 7.4 inches longer than the Crown Vic’s — also provides extra interior space. The E7’s 20-cubic-foot trunk is only slightly smaller than the Crown Vic’s.

To rejigger the traditional performance-versus-efficiency equation, Carbon has contracted with BMW to provide a 3-liter twin-turbo 6-cylinder diesel engine rated at more than 250 horsepower and more than 400 pound-feet of torque. With a 6-speed automatic transmission manufactured by ZF and calibrated by BMW, the E7 is said to be capable of 28 to 30 m.p.g. in combined city-highway driving, according to the manufacturer, a 50 percent improvement over the gasoline-powered Crown Vic.

Carbon says the E7 will accelerate from a stop to 60 m.p.h. in 6.5 seconds and have a top speed above 150 m.p.h. Back doors hinged at the rear are intended to make it easier to load suspects. The rear-seat compartment is one seamless plastic molding, easing cleanups and eliminating hiding places for contraband. Centrally anchored seat belts temporarily latch onto the center partition so the arresting officer can secure them with minimal exposure to uncooperative suspects.

The exterior is designed with molded-in black-and-white identification and integrated emergency lighting. Prominent bumper bars can push disabled vehicles and spin out fleeing suspects using the P.I.T. (pursuit immobilization technique) maneuver familiar to late-night viewers of police reality shows.

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