Carbon Motors introduces police truck of the future

If at first you don’t succeed, go big.

Carbon Motors, an American auto industry startup that’s been trying to get its high-tech, purpose-built E7 police cruiser into production for the past decade or so has put that project on the back burner and introduced the police truck of the future, hoping to carve out a new niche in the law enforcement vehicle segment.

The company describes the TX7 as a Multi Mission Vehicle (MMV) and says it can replace a variety of vehicles currently used by law enforcement agencies to meet incident command, personnel transport and SWAT team needs. Built on the chassis of a truck from an existing automaker that Carbon Motors is not yet ready to reveal, the TX7 is to be powered by a V8 diesel engine driving all four wheels and can be configured to carry up to 10 people. A compressed natural gas version is also in the works. Its bodywork features a new take on the distinctive polygonal design first seen on the E7.

Carbon Motors says the 10-foot-tall truck will be available with many of the electronic features planned for the E7, including weapons of mass destruction detectors, infrared cameras and 360-degree surveillance cameras. It’s also investigating a solar panel backup power system to run its accessories.

The TX7 has a starting price of $149,950, and Carbon Motors says it’s ready to start building them as soon as the second half of 2013.

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The E7 project stalled after the company failed to get a $310 million loan from the Department of Energy to help put it into production, but company spokesperson Stacy Dean Stephens tells that the low-volume nature of the TX7 will allow them to begin manufacturing the new vehicle soon as orders start coming in.

Exactly where they will be built, however, is yet to be determined. Carbon Motors had planned to tap the DOE loan to purchase a shuttered factory in the city of Connersville, Indiana, to build the E7, but that deal has since fallen through. Nevertheless, Stephens says the company is committed to staying in the state as it looks for a suitable manufacturing facility for the TX7. He says a prototype of the vehicle should be ready early next year.