Carbon Motors yesterday filed for a $310 million federal loan to help it begin producing high-tech police cars in Connersville.
The Atlanta-based company submitted its application to the U.S. Department of Energy under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program.
The federal program provides loans to automobile and parts manufacturers for the cost of re-equipping, expanding or establishing U.S. manufacturing facilities to produce advanced-technology vehicles or qualified components.
Carbon Motors announced on July 29 that it had selected the Fayette County community of Connersville in mideastern Indiana to manufacture its Carbon E7 police cruiser in a 1.8-million-square-foot facility formerly occupied by Visteon Corp.
The company plans to begin production with about 200 employees and ultimately could employ 1,000 - a huge coup for a county in which the unemployment rate is hovering at 16 percent.
"Our application unequivocally meets or exceeds all technical, business and legal requirements of the loan program, and we believe the U.S. Department of Energy will quickly realize that it is in the national security and socioeconomic interests of the United States of America that the Carbon E7 vehicle be expedited to production," company CEO William Santana Li said in a prepared statement.
The Carbon E7 runs on clean diesel and biodiesel technology. The company said it already has orders for 10,000 cars.
Despite the enthusiasm, Carbon Motors is not a sure thing. The company is a startup and has yet to begin producing any vehicles.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has not ironed out details of the incentive package it will offer Carbon Motors for choosing to locate in Connersville. Part of that package hinges on Carbon's ability to attract federal funding.