INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Carbon Motors E7 police car was supposed to revitalize Connersville, Ind. and change the way cops patrol America’s streets. Instead, it will likely go for a bankruptcy bargain rate Thursday when it’s sold off to the highest bidder at an Indianapolis auction house.
Amid much ruckus, Carbon Motors announced in the summer of 2009 that it was going to build the next generation of police car at the abandoned Visteon plant in Connersville, the place that 100 years ago was called, “Little Detroit.”
About 1,500 people in the struggling eastern Indiana city would have had good paying jobs, and police departments around the world would drive the Hoosier built cop car that was specially designed for patrol work.
“A lot of hopes and dreams,” said Jeffrey Doner of Key Auctioneers. “A lot of them pan out. A lot of them don’t. This one didn’t.”
The dream died because some experts predicted the E7 would cost twice much as a comparable model by Ford, GM or Dodge, though Carbon Motors claimed to have 20,000 orders in hand. It had no dealer network. There was no overwhelming demand for purpose-designed police cars. Additionally, Carbon Motors didn’t have the money to begin production in 2014.
Two years ago, the Department of Energy refused Carbon Motors’ bid for a $300 million loan. The company cried, “politics,” politicians and the people of Fayette County were disappointed and the E7 started picking up speed toward bankruptcy.
Carbon Motors had $21 million in debts, $19,000 in assets and one prototype police car that was built on BMW underpinnings.
That car may be the biggest asset left to the Carbon Motors dream.
“We’ve had people that have called and said it ought to go to Connersville and Connersville out to get the proceeds from the vehicle,” said Doner.
There are some computers, some intellectual property and some trade show bric-a-brac on the auction block, too.
Doner said he received a phone call of interest from Belgium and online bids beginning at $11,000.