There’s something refreshing about Carbon Motors, the company that plans to make police cars in Connersville.
The founders, a cop who thought there had to be a better mouse trap and a former Ford executive who brings corporate and manufacturing experience, are charging straight into a market dominated by diminished but still-significant companies. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors still offer police vehicles.
Carbon Motors’ prototype is loaded with technology. Just one feature is its ability to automatically snap pictures of license plates and run the numbers against a national database of cars tied to everything from amber alerts to unpaid parking tickets. For the officer wanting to troll a mall or rock concert, the car will read a whopping 1,500 plates a minute. And yes, it will recognize your Riley Hospital for Children tag—along with every other specialty plate in the nation.
The company is doing manufacturing differently, too. It isn’t setting up a big assembly line that begs to be fed or shut down. Instead, it will add capacity in modules as the market warms. The market for police cars isn’t tiny, like it is for luxury marques like Maserati, nor is it on the massive scale of a popular model like the Toyota Camry, which forces Carbon Motors into something of a no man's land.
Carbon Motors is still young and tiny, so its future is up in the air. Production won’t start for at least a couple of years and is dependent on landing a $300 million federal loan.
There’s plenty of enthusiasm for the company, though. The job fair Carbon Motors held Monday attracted a couple of thousand people seeking 1,550 positions. The positions were for production, but also for finance, marketing and other headquarters posts. After all, Carbon Motors moved from its Atlanta home office to Connersville last summer.
What are your thoughts about Carbon Motors? Will the company and its grand experiment with police cars fly? Any reports from the job fair?